Après le déluge

TODAY MY DAUGHTER and I brushed our teeth with real, running water. It was heaven.

Hurricane Sandy killed people and destroyed homes in New York and New Jersey. As a sideline, it left everyone in Manhattan below 39th Street without electric power. That means no elevator service in high-rise apartment buildings. No modem, no Wi-Fi, no charge for mobile devices—and almost no cellular access from AT&T or Verizon. There are no lights, there is no heat, and—if you live above the sixth floor in an apartment building (as we do)—there is no running water.

Which means no showers, no baths, no coffee, and no flushing toilets.

Con Edison says it will be days before power is restored. I think they’re being optimistic. Cleaning up after a disaster of this magnitude is a job for heroes. Repairing the power grid for five water-damaged boroughs of New York is a task for wizards.

So here is the little miracle:

There is a block on Madison Avenue below 39th Street that has power. My studio is located on that block. Electric power and internet access are working at the studio. My daughter, her mother and I have trudged here and temporarily set up camp. We brushed our teeth. We made espresso. We responded to days-old messages (messages our overtaxed cellular services could not deliver). My daughter camped out on her mother’s jacket and watched PBS Kids on an iPad.

The bliss of normality, if only for a few hours. Gratitude for the things we take for granted. Fresh clean water for a child’s toothbrush. The internet. The ability to contact friends.