“Do you realize how close it is to Christmas?” my friend Leah Reich text messaged from California.
I didn’t. I was too preoccupied being cold and miserable in my parents’ house, where my immediate family and I were staying after losing power at our own home during the first few hours of Superstorm Sandy. Eleven of us across three families had already been hunkered down there for a week and a half when a snowstorm hit, causing my parents to lose power too. Heat, hot showers, and normalcy would have to wait.
Leah’s message snapped me out of the funk I was in. I was feeling helpless to contribute meaningfully to those around me who were worse off. Neither my house nor my parents’ had suffered much damage, and none of us had been injured. I wanted to go out and do something for those who had been hit harder, but I didn’t have enough gas in my car to get anywhere, let alone to wait on the hours-long gas lines.