All I want for Labor Day is for my power to come back on. It’s my turn this week to write this column and though I have several columns waiting to be published, how could I not write about the hurricane? I’m told we could be without power for 6 to 10 days!
I live in a neighborhood that is right near the Montauk Lighthouse, which means we’re on the most eastern tip of Long Island, the windiest area in Montauk. Our power went off on Friday night, actually, at about 8 p.m. just when my husband and I were sitting down for dinner and two days before Hurricane Irene was scheduled to hit our area.
It’s as if the Long Island Power Authority were giving us a test run. They said it would be on by 10 p.m., but that didn’t happen. I got up at 1 a.m. to hit the bathroom and bing! the lights went on.
I stupidly thought that since the lines were already fixed and hopefully secured we wouldn’t lose power again when Irene came to visit, but on Sunday morning the lights sputtered and went out.
The wind was howling like I’ve never heard and we could hear the ocean churning up from a mile away. LIPA is saying it could take days, if not weeks, to restore the power out here. We have no phones or cellphone service, either. Just check on us once in a while, okay?
It’s amazing to realize how spoiled we are. You learn that when you lose power. I walk into a room and immediately flick the light switch and nothing happens. I open the refrigerator and everything’s starting to warm, and smell. My precious ice cream is melting as quickly as the witch in “The Wizard of Oz” when she was doused with water. I’m reading books and writing this by the sunlight that is streaming through my bedroom window.
My hair is a mass of frizz, knotted and matted! There is no coffee or toast in the mornings. I can’t vacuum the dog hair from my carpets. Dishes are piling in the sink because I have forgotten how to wash them — the dishwasher usually does that. There are lanterns and candles in jars, tapers and votives littering my coffee table in the living room. I’m hoarding matches. And I’m bored.
All over my neighborhood cars are parked with surfboards on roofs or stuffed into hatchbacks. Cars with surfers in them are driving up and down our usually quiet block all day long looking for an access to the best waves this summer. They have been blocked from using their traditional spots. Since almost everyone who lives here in our area is a surfer or has a surfer in the family, most of us don’t mind. Vicariously, I know the thrill of a good wave.
The grounds around the Montauk Lighthouse and Turtle Cove have been blocked since Saturday by state park barriers and police. I imagine, although since I don’t have a phone I really am guessing, that the water is unsafe because of the huge waves. But what a drag for those of us who don’t surf to not be able to drive to the Lighthouse and see the ocean at its roughest.
I adopted a kitten on Friday, a little black female that needed a home. We named her Storm. I always had cats but one of my daughters is allergic so I had to hold off for a while. She was home for the summer but has since left to go back to Hawaii. We have mice in winter and I felt a cat could help keep them from scurrying from my woodpile into my warm house, plus I love a cat snuggled on my lap. Storm was frightened by the storm, the howling of the wind and the branches that scraped our windows like in a horror movie. She’s still hiding under a bed, but I hope she joins our family soon.
I had two funny things happen to me during Ms. Irene. First was I stood next to Julianne Moore in Herb’s Montauk Market. I have wanted to apologize to Ms. Moore for two years, ever since she narrated a ballet performance at the Montauk Playhouse Community Center. Playhouse officials had called me and asked me to come and take pictures of her for this paper. And so I did but I got there late after it was announced that pictures weren’t allowed. As I snapped away a man finally came over to me and said, “You know you’re being very rude. They said no pictures.”
And instead of my telling him where to go or to explain that I was with the house I just humbly sat down and then slithered out. I was mortified because I abhor rudeness and am not rude at all. So Ms. Moore, I didn’t bother you in Herb’s, but I apologize. I didn’t know.
As the wind blew ferociously on Sunday afternoon I took my Brodie Boy, a sweet golden doodle, out to play ball. I threw the ball and he fetched until a car pulled up on my side lawn. A good-looking guy, one whom my husband has yelled at me about for telling everyone how good looking he is, approached me to see how he could get back to Camp Hero through all the police blockades. I told him a secret path and then realized he was an actor from a show I used to love that was recently taken off the air.
The excitement of hurricanes is one that can’t be avoided. You never know how it’s going to turn out. Except for power losses and a lot of downed trees, we made out okay this time. So goodnight, Irene, and may our paths never cross again.
Janis Hewitt is a senior writer at The Star.