The morning of Sandy, while I was out doing some end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it provision shopping, I passed by Giovanni D’Italia, our beloved shoe repair shop.
I asked Nick why on earth he was open? Were they expecting a flood of emergency shoe repair issues? A run on waterproofing supplies?
He looked at me and in earnest said, “Some people need their dance shoes.”
Well yes, some people do. And as we would soon see, some people would need their hip boots and waders. Including all at Giovanni D’Italia, who found themselves under water, as most of Hoboken did that day.
I am one of the very fortunate. My street does not flood…yet. My home is on its foundation. No lives lost. No looming insurance nightmares. But no power for a week. It was like camping…indoors.
After five days, the charm had worn off and I had some options. A place to go where the lights were on and somebody was home.
I was conflicted about bailing on Hoboken though. About missing the volunteer and communal opportunities. And the free food. To which my best friend, who is one of the flooded weary said, “So what. I’d leave if I could.”
And so, by candlelight I packed a bag that included my dog, external hard drives, hair care products, survivor’s guilt and my tango shoes. For you never know when a tango opportunity will present itself. With a quarter of a tank of gas I fled for higher ground to my family in Massachusetts.
Dancing would have to wait until the waters receded, tunnels were pumped out and New York was turned back on. And as I write this, our PATH train, one month later, is still out of service. Indefinitely.
In exodus, in a lit and heated home, I spent all of my time and data allowance on Twitter trying to get a grasp as to what happened to New York and New Jersey when Sandy came to town. I’m sure that I was quite tedious to be around.
One of the signs that one is becoming a tango addict is that one could turn any conversation to tango within two minutes.
I found that I could turn any conversation to Sandy within one.
When the coast was clear, and I did not need a flotation device to cross town, I returned to clean up and pitch in where I could.
And so, accompanied by battery powered Pugliese, I listened to tango music while I scrubbed my flooded friend’s defrosted fridge. By headlamp.
Copyright © 2012 Nancy Green