I’d like to say that I took my vacation at the perfect time.
Last Thursday I boarded a plane and headed west to Phoenix. I was headed towards a three-day weekend, to be filled with golf, football, and probably a few drinks.
But a funny thing happened while I was soaking it up in the desert. Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast. Now, I’m the first to admit: There are worse places to be stranded. It’s been between 80 and 86 degrees and sunny every day that I’ve been here. I’m in a buddy’s condo, watching Sunday Night Football at 5 in the afternoon. Life is good.
That is, except for the fact that I’m stranded hundreds of miles away from my loved ones. As they were battening the hatches, I was watching ASU blow a late lead to UCLA at Sun Devil Stadium. As they were braving the storm, I was going for a jog along McDowell mountain. It isn’t fair. People are trying to get their belongings out of flooded homes, garages, and offices—and I have a tan.
I’ve had to ration my exposure to news updates and storm watches. It was putting me on edge. I checked in with my girlfriend, my brothers, and my parents throughout the weekend, and tried—from a distance—to convince them that it was going to be okay. And it was—but I don’t feel any better. I worry about my hometown out on Long Island, parts of which were underwater long before the storm hit. I worry about my city, with power down, and transportation halted for days, possibly weeks.
I feel guilty. I feel like I should have been locked arm-in-arm with the people I care about, braving the storm together. I feel like I should have been at work, helping bring the news to people that can still see it on TV. Instead I was watching my own show on a friend’s couch. With my feet up. Drinking reverse-osmosis filtered water. What a jerk.
Wednesday night, I’m taking the red-eye home, on what is supposed to be one of the first flights to touch down in a freshly reopened JFK. When I get home, my building will be dealing with flood damage, and it will be impossible to get to work, and once I’m there people will be crazed, and stressed, and at the end of their damn rope, and most of my basic day-to-day trivialities will be a ridiculous hassle.
And I’ll be thankful to finally be a part of it.