The update is that there is no update. The news is stuck on an annoying loop, with flashing images of wreckage and quotes from people without homes. It’s been a week, and I’m still stranded, about a hundred miles away. But I am fine. I miss the music, but it is warm and cozy in my hotel. I’ve got hot water, electricity and yes, the intrawebs. And looking out into the darkness on this freezing morning, at least I think that I am fine.
The status is that there is no status. The water is still receding, the power substations are still corroded, and there is no electricity in my neck of the woods. I was hoping to return last Thursday, now possibly on Monday, but most likely it’s next Friday. One day is running into the next, at times feeling like a really long month, at times like a never ending nightmare. I’m tired, restless, but I’m fine.
The power is that there is no power. In fact, I’m powerless at best. And the adjustment process to the new ‘norm’ seems like the only thing I can control. First the preparations, and then the flight, then worry over gas. And now I’m living out of a suitcase full of charging cables, socks, and wrinkled T-shirts, that look much thinner with each colder day. I tell myself, “it’s only money”, and buy a warmer jacket, and I’m fine.
The guilt is that there is no guilt. Yet I feel guilty eating meals, as someone stands awaiting in a long line for a handout. And I feel guilty hearing laughter, as messages from friends and family begin to slowly trickle in. “We’re cold, but we’re OK,” my mother writes. Their power was restored an hour earlier. I’m thinking of a way to pass more time. “I’m fine,” I write her back. And that’s the update.