Best of WRITE: Hell Hath No Fury…Like a Bitch Named Sandy

The author’s history of hurricanes past and documentation of 24 hours before and after Sandy stormed into town. The CBK office was down for a week because of her. Bitch indeed.

Story by By Teo J. Babini - teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Icarus Blake

From Cover 14

My first break up happened when I was still in short pants on Shelter Island. My memories are blurry at best, but I still get flashes of bright yellow, full body rain coats and trees flying around as nimbly as leaves. The last thing I remember was my father throwing me into a basement to protect us from debris, and rising from the dark depths to the strangely serene scene of the post-chaos calm which caused a devastation I could not quite comprehend at the time. I managed steer clear of angry women for a while until a little cock-tease called Irene came into my life. She arrived with promises wet and wild, and left me with a bad case of blue balls and a lotta time to catch up on my reading. That whirlwind romance left me a little jaded… And then along came Sandy, and let me tell ya, she was one crazy bitch.

BEWARE Photo ©Icarus Blake

Part 1: The Calm before the Storm

The warnings came later then the last time. It all started with whispers about this “Frankenstorm”, a supposed triumvirate of terrible weather converging conveniently atop New York and New Jersey. It was to be heavy winds from our neighbors to the North, a winter storm from the wild West, and Sandy sailin’ in from the Carribean East. Bloomberg learned a lesson in discretion from Irene, and so didn’t go to work until the Friday prior when events started getting canceled, and shelters being built. By Sunday the store shelves had been ransacked and mandatory evacuations enacted.

The weekend in Brooklyn was like any other, traipsing around with the entire cast of DIY “Wizard of Oz” for some Halloween party hoppin’. I had to return to the city before they shut down the trains to be near my family and help my pops with some sand baggin’. Also, the third floor studio on 10th Street seemed a sturdier bet than my girl’s BK basement. So we took out her and her roommate’s A/Cs, packed up his bunny, and went our separate ways. The path to the train was populated by hipsters cradling big jugs of water in one hand, and twenty-four packs of PBR in the other. Brooklyn would be fine.

The city seemed a bit more frantic with long lines allover. Luckily, I had just done my usual shopping and therefore only needed to stop by the bodega for girlfriend snacks with a quick pit stop at Kim’s to pick up some indoor entertainment; the weed was already on its way. We had our “last meal” at Iron Sushi’s happy hour feast and bunkered down for the beginning of a “Boardwalk Empire” marathon.

Freedom Tower Photo ©Icarus Blake

Part 2: Wind Blown Blackout

I got up early Monday morn to make sure I wasn’t needed at work, since Sandy, like most women, was running late for our date. With no word, I had a leisurely breakfast downstairs at the Brindle Room (They didn’t close doors for the duration of Irene), the hurricane menu had a sausage sandwich that was delicious. We hit the bodega one last time with a little mist in the air, but as I waited outside finishing a cigarette, ol’ girl came blowin’ in and almost sent me rollin’ down the sidewalk. We rushed home and tucked into bed with beers and “Boardwalk”.

Slayer (girlfriend) got scared when Sandy started shakin’ my trees down and made me duct tape X’s on the windows like tic-tac-toe. I also had a 70’s-90’s relic of old New York window security fence that gave the pad a real fortress feeling. I got word that the power might be comin’ off in my zone around 8:00pm, and thought it best that we shower up and cook dinner before then in case the gas went with it. Slayer chefed up a whole family size box of Kraft mac adding cream cheese, parmesan, black pepper, and hot sauce to the already potent brew. I didn’t think we’d finish, but then I underestimated how good bad could actually taste and cleaned the pot mostly myself.

By 8:30 the music turned off and the candles were lit. This is the moment that you realize that you are somewhat, if not entirely, dependent on modern comforts to keep you any sort of sane… Ladies and gentlemen, this is how children are made, but once you’ve had so much sex that you’re sore, tired, dehydrated, and afraid you didn’t fill enough pickle jars with water to sustain, you drink and smoke weed. Drinking is good for the obvious reasons, but smoking is the best because it reminds you to eat all the cheese and salami in the fridge before it goes bad. Once the fridge is emptied of perishables and the beer is warm, you move on to whiskey and that’s when things get interesting. Slayer needed to do something (hide the skittle was her initial ridiculous suggestion), so I thought we could try meditating which, of course, led to a candlelit catastrophe of an argument. Once that was settled, many a loosey later, she taught me how to play gin rummy, I lost, and we went to sleep.

The sky is falling! Photo ©Icarus Blake

Part 3: The Aftermath

You ever broke the news to a girl and it actually went a lot better than you expected? A little water works, maybe a little howlin’, but in the end she tells you she understands and just wants some space, which you of course oblige because you’re not actually trying to be a dick, it just didn’t work out. So you go out with your friends that night to take your mind of things and then you get back to your block and your apartment has somehow made it’s way through the windows, and onto the sidewalk, and maybe the fire department is already there putting out what was once that carpet you bought on a trip to Morocco… That broad’s probably named Sandy, but it’s not your apartment she got, it’s the whole fuckin’ neighborhood.

I woke up to my father calling up to my window from the courtyard, with the dog, in full tactical hurricane gear like we were back in the old country. So I navigated my way down the pitch-black stairwell and we all caught up on storm life news, as the cell phones were no longer working. I hit him up for some hard currency and went next door to find J-Dog still manning the ol’ Brindle grill. After our cheese burgers and coffee, we hiked North through the wilds of Southern Manhattan with people pluggin’ into buildings and generators everywhere, graciously expressing exclamations to anyone and everyone who had doors open and anything to offer, be it food or supplies.

X-Ray Flaskin' Photo ©Icarus Blake

Arriving in midtown was a real trip; the freedom to do whatever you want makes the world seem like a playground compared to the powerless dungeons of downtown. Only problem was we were late to the party and every plug in every place was filled, with people waiting in line to replace the first iPhone charger removed. So we dipped to a seedy dive in Hell’s Kitchen for free happy hour hot wings and plugs a plenty. Once reconnected to the world, we realized that this might be the situation for several days. Not being ones to stand on ceremony, we decided to get the hell outta dodge. The trek home was treacherous after dark with no street or traffic lights. The only thing that lit the road was the car that almost ran you over with a limited supply of traffic cops holding down the occasional major intersection. The crazies we out in full force along with freaks wearing flashlight head piece. Let’s just say I was happy to be a large looming shadowy figure lumbering down dark dangerous blocks. Back home we emptied the fridge, put on fresh clothes, back packed, and went searching for a taxi, Brooklyn bound.

Brooklyn’s bars have probably never done better business on weekdays. With everyone unable to get to work, it was a non-stop party with power and gas almost everywhere in the Burg. Commuting back was a bitch, but a bridge overflowing ever-resilient New Yorkers is quite a sight for sore eyes. Shout out to Jet Blue for the free Lebanese breakfast! For now I’ll enjoy this moment of celibacy, no rebound necessary.

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