This post is mainly to assure everyone who might be worried (and it turns out there are a lot of you...thank you for your care and concern) that I'm okay for now. I've taken all of the necessary precautions and stocked up on important items: water, food, batteries, flashlights, chocolate, etc. I've shut my windows tightly, done lots of laundry, and charged up my computers and phones to full power. I've printed out emergency numbers and NYC's recommendations for what to do if/when the hurricane strikes--the printouts are sitting safely on my dresser, as far from the window as can be.
I am NOT in an evacuation zone. Trust me when I tell you that if I were, I'd be typing this post from somewhere else. I strongly considered getting out of dodge, especially when I had a zillion gracious offers from people in York, DC and Jersey. If I thought I needed to leave, I'd leave--I'm no fool. I've been checking with some friends in the neighborhood who are also sticking around, and I will join them for the evening if a.) I'm really feeling scared/alone and b.) I can safely leave my apartment to get to them. The fact that they'll be staying in the neighborhood, whether or not I'll physically be with them during the storm, is actually a great comfort to me. In addition, it seems as though most of my neighborhood is sticking around to weather the storm; no one seems panicked, though they're taking precautions just as I am.
If I've learned anything the last few days, it's that I have a whole lotta people who love me and want me to be safe. I've had countless emails, phone calls, texts, tweets, and Facebook messages demanding that I get my butt outta here and/or reminding me to buy enough necessities for the coming days. I've had offers from people to come and stay with them (and stay as long as need be.) I've had friends/family who've asked that I stay in constant contact when the storm hits. It's incredibly wonderful to know that I have so much love and support--it makes riding out the storm alone seem a little less lonely. It's nice to be reminded of how much I am cared for, even when people--my mother, mostly--are screaming at me to get on a plane and come home.
It's also nice to know that, finally, I have a community of people right here in Astoria who I can lean on if things get really bad. That might be the most reassuring thing of all for a variety of reasons.
As it turns out, FEMA is instructing people to use social media as a means of contacting friends and family, rather than tying up the phone lines. I plan on posting to both Facebook and Twitter (you don't have to be a member of Twitter to follow me...just go to http://twitter.com/#!/tlf1982) as often as possible, so I ask that you please check those sites before calling my cell phone.
Thank you all again for your love and thoughtfulness. I love you for loving me so much, and for being the caring people that you are.
Until next time, I leave us all with the following prayer for weathering the storms--both the physical and the personal: Blessed are You, Source of Life and Nature, whose awesome power and strength fill our world and inspire us to be strong in the face of all of life's difficulties.