Saturday, October 27, 2012


New York is in the midst of a mild “Frankenstorm” fever. Approaching storm fronts may dump  multitudes of rain and/or snow on our metropolis in a day or two, and New Yorkers are waiting to see what gets canceled when and what the latest forecast might reveal.

The panic that gripped New York prior to hurricane Irene last year has yet to grip us in the specter of the Frankenstorm. The supermarkets were not running out of bread and bottled water, though governors of New York and New Jersey have already declared states of emergency. While the disaster preparations by the government are the same, this has not seized on the consciousness of the citizenry in the same way, at least not yet, despite having the cool cache of the “Frankenstorm” moniker.

There’s a resignation to these kinds of disruptions in New York, though we are not normally subjected to the disasters that they have in hurricane alley or on the more volatile Gulf of Mexico shoreline. New York is geologically very lucky.

So now we run through a multitude of “what if…” scenarios in our minds. What if the subways are shut down Monday? What if they only close off the area where I work? What if power is knocked out? I’m hoping that no closures or suspension of mass transit is necessary, because I don’t want to have to work from home. It’s too much of a pain in the ass to try to reconfigure my home computer setup for my work needs. I can do it if I have too, though, and working from home during a storm beats being unemployed during a storm.

One interesting phenomenon that many might be unprepared for: During times of emergencies, cell phones may not be working. Too many calls overload the cell phone towers and most cell phones become useless. We saw this in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and a few years later during the East Coast blackout of August 2003. Many people are now without home phone lines because they use their cell phones more often than home phone lines. That’s something to keep in mind and an interesting phenomenon during a time of great technological transition: that some with superior means of technology will be worse off because of it in this rare instance.

I have enough weapons and Diet Pepsi to survive a Frankenstorm and a half. See you when it’s over.  

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