Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy Was Surreal

My Hurricane Sandy experiences last night were quite surreal, although not quite as surreal as some of these photos from New York City:
Photo from sandrarose.com
Photo from tntmagazine.com
Photo from jessbennett.tumblr.com
(Okay, that last photo is from 1960, the last time New York City was flooded by a hurricane.  That lady's name was Donna.)

It was our last drawing class and I didn't want to miss it but I was quite shocked to see a woman who had apparently just been struck by a car lying in the middle of the road on my drive to the art store.  Traffic on that side of the street was stopped and there were people with her, one talking on a cell phone, presumably calling 911.  It was one of those times when I wished I was a doctor or a paramedic so I could jump out of my car to help but instead, like many others, I had to keep driving.  They certainly didn't need another bystander.

As I got to within 2 blocks of the art store, I was forced to make a detour as the intersection I was headed for was blocked with several emergency vehicles with lights flashing and a police officer was redirecting traffic ahead.  I backtracked and made my way to my destination by another route. 

Once class started, I couldn't get my mind to settle.  We were drawing a live nude female model, something I had never done before.  It was a bit weird to have a stranger take her clothes off and pose but not impossibly so.  I just couldn't focus on what I was doing though, my mind was flitting about in a hundred different directions.   I couldn't stop thinking about that woman lying on the street, wondering if she was okay.  I was curious about what was going on down the street.  I was wondering about the weather outside and whether any trees might be blowing down on my route home.  I was hoping my family and friends were all safe.  My drawings often aren't much to begin with, last night they were barely more than stick figures or grossly out of proportion caricatures.   It was just too surreal to be drawing a naked human while this massive storm was going on outside and everywhere on the East Coast.

After about an hour and a half, I apologized to the group but left. I just had to go.  Do you know that little song, "Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, your house is on fire and your children alone"?  I kind of felt like that, I just had to get home.  The wind was blowing but it wasn't too bad. There was some rain but not enough to turn the wipers on more than intermittently.  I just couldn't fight the feeling that I needed to be at home, instead of where I was.  So I left.

I got home without incident but along the way, I heard on the news that a woman had been struck and killed by a Staples sign that was blown off in the wind a mere two blocks away from the art store.  According to the news reports, it happened just after class started so it might not have been why all those emergency vehicles were at the intersection where I had to make my detour, which was about 15 minutes before class.  But I'm thinking maybe the news reports had the wrong time, none of them mentioned anything else major happening in that area last night.  

Who knows? Maybe I was picking upon on the energy from that accident just a few blocks away or maybe that incident had nothing to do with the strange feelings I was having.  Maybe it was just the full moon tugging on my hormones.  I just knew I needed to listen to my gut and get to my safe place.  Which was tucked up inside my apartment with my cats and kittens.  Once I got home, I immediately felt so much better.  Everything was fine here, the power stayed on, the cats were sleepy but glad to see me, and everything outside seemed quiet as I live on the south side of the building and the wind was blowing from the north.   The surreal feeling went away and I could relax, safe at home where I belonged.