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Friday, November 2, 2012

During my journalism career, I worked at news organizations including CNN. I loved the profession, but sometimes I hated knowing that I was delivering bad news to people.  We all say, “No news is good news” but, really, good news isn’t usually news at all. (I think only The Onion would run a story saying, “School buses safely deliver many students to and from school.”)  In journalism, one often deals with dire topics. Even when I worked at celebrity-oriented People magazine, my biggest story was the awful small-plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife and her sister. One of the reasons I became a jewelry designer is that I’d rather make people feel beautiful and special instead of depressed and scared.

On the other hand, in my old line of work, I used to feel useful during times of crisis. Now I find myself working on fashion-related posts and feeling helpless while the television spews endless bad news. I suppose there’s nothing to do but carry on. I remember when I walked up to Irving Place from the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. I was amazed to see people walking around and even eating lunch outside on a gorgeous day instead of acting like the world had come to an end. It was surreal and reassuring at the same time. I started to think that perhaps the world hadn’t come to an end. I even picked up my dry cleaning the next day, even though I had thought I would never need clean clothes again, what with the world coming to an end and all.

A week after 9/11, Graydon Carter, the brilliant editor of Vanity Fair, declared, “I think it’s the end of the age of irony.” But irony survived and it’s probably for the best if the human race muddles on in its normal, ridiculous way. So even though I’m extremely distressed by what’s happening so close to me and will look to make helpful comments when I can, I’m also going to resume my regularly scheduled blog programming.

Before I do that, here are some links for anyone who wants to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy. (Remember, sometimes there’s nothing at all you can do right away, though you might be able to help later.) To answer the many kind people who have asked, my household — MrB, me, two dogs and one cat — is absolutely fine. My neighborhood is like Irving Place on 9/11. It’s as if nothing has happened, except the sidewalks are packed with people who can’t get to work and so are roaming around the neighborhood. In the 20+ years I’ve lived in this area, I’ve never seen so many trick-or-treaters on Halloween. (Schools are closed all week and parents are desperate to get their children out of the apartment.) As for my parents, they are staying in my neighborhood because their town in New Jersey still has no power. They had severe tree damage there. I told you trees are evil. My sister and her family live near Chicago so they’re unaffected by the storm. I’m hoping my many friends who live in places including downtown Manhattan; Brooklyn; Hoboken, N.J.;  and Riverdale, N.Y., get their power back soon, for a start.

And now we go on.

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9 Responses to “A Note About Hurricane Sandy”

  1. SarahMac says:

    Thinking of everyone who is going through this. We had awful flooding in Queensland a couple of summers ago and it was devastating. But of course life goes on! We have been getting saturation coverage over here which is just silly. The best thing to do is do what you normally do I reckon. Good on you Wendy B!

  2. stacy says:

    Gotta love the Upper East Side… it may be boring (except when we’re out and about), but it’s safe.

  3. “And now we go on.”

    I think that attitude is how the South manages to deal with hurricanes each year (much to the anger, chagrin, disgust, whatever of people elsewhere in the country). It comes. We lose power. We use that time to reconnect with others, because that’s all there is. Eventually things open, streets become clear, and we go on.

    I have also always noticed that some kindness comes, even if just for a little while, in the aftermath of the storm. So I hope those up North are treating each other more kindly, with patience, and with more smiles. We go on, but only with one another.

    Glad to hear that you, Mr. B, and the pups are safe and sound!

  4. I’m glad to hear you and your family are safe. The kids here are still out of school as much of Westchester county is still without power, and many of the schools have sustained severe roof and water damage. I’m still shocked that our block never lost power, but a block over is still out. Most of our family in NJ and the boroughs are fine, but Dan keeps getting many reports in about friends who lost everything. We’re all trying to help the best way we can, but the lack of electricity and impassible roads make it terribly difficult to get where help is most needed. Yes, life will go on as it did after 9/11 but the widespread destruction is going to make it harder to get back to business as usual. XXX

  5. Glad to hear Mom and Dad are with you. I donated.

  6. Marti says:

    Glad you and yours are all doing well. The last catastrophic event I went through was an earthquake when I was still living in Seattle in 2/2000. I was in my cube at work when my desk started moving around and drawers started opening then closing by themselves that’s I realized I’m just a little fleck in the eyes of the universe. When I realized it had been a couple of seconds that’s when I went under the doorframe. CRAZY….
    Anyway I’m glad you added those links I know the HB and I will make a contribution.

    • WendyB says:

      I’ve never been in an earthquake. Well, I have — in NYC — but it was little and I was totally oblivious to it! I’m glad of that. Definitely don’t need to see objects moving around themselves!

  7. Alice Olive says:

    You know I’m in the same ‘hood. It is indeed “surreal and reassuring” to see how everything is so ‘normal’. My sister was visiting and her flight back to Australia was delayed but that was the only impact – how could I possibly complain?

    I grew up in a part of Australia that was prone to bush fires, which generally occurred every few years and we’d pack up, getting ready to evacuate. I always thought, “The fires won’t get us. The fire trucks will put it out before it gets to us.” Even as an adult.

    One fire in particular, where our house literally escaped by a few streets and I felt very weird and somehow guilty about still having my home in tact. I feel the same way now. Also makes me glad I can respond.

  8. Awesome perspective – thanks for the links!