This was the scene all across the affected areas of Hurricane Sandy over the last two days as the supplies of gasoline have hit a temporary low. Lines for gas went for blocks, worsening as the past two days have creeped on. As I took my daily walk this evening around Patchogue, the town where I live, I saw that each of the five gas stations I pass along the way were out of gas. Here's a pump at one of them:
It's hard to read what the sign says, but you can see it's over the buttons where you choose the type of gasoline you want...the message on the sign: No gas.
Apparently, this mess is a combination of problems. Some gas stations are without power and unable to service customers and the distribution system has been hampered greatly by all of the damage to the entire metropolitan area. If any of you have seen any photos from NYC today, you can see why I am a little worried about us here on Long Island because really the only way on to the island from anyplace goes through the city. Dare I say "gas crisis?"
Experts are saying it could be a long time before the system is restored to normal, perhaps up to a week. Considering I drive 40 miles to work everyday, I may be in trouble!
Source: NBC News
Work, Work, Work
This story segues perfectly into my next topic, which speaks to the sometimes ridiculous nature of our American culture. I want to start off by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with hard work. I consider myself a hard worker, and I was brought up to believe strongly in the American value that hard work is a virtue. However, there comes a point where work should not be above all else.
My pal Rich was telling me earlier about these lines he saw in Brooklyn earlier today of people waiting to get on to buses to Manhattan. The subways in the city are mostly still shut down, and the buses were the only mode of transportation for these people, en route to their jobs. Rich was flabbergasted at how all of these people were waiting so long only to get crammed on to a bus into the city to get to work. Here's a photo of that scene:
Can you imagine?
Next, the news covered the traffic getting into the city from the roadways, which are a complete and utter mess! People sitting in their cars, not moving, taking hours to make their commutes to their jobs in the city, and for what? Just because they're hard workers? Or because they're afraid to lose our jobs? We all suffer through such nightmares, and it's worse when your home is in a shambles or you simply don't have electricity. No one really can say for sure whether it's one or the other, but in a case such as we have this week, the answer should be that people that don't work in critical occupations should be made to stay home.
Yesterday, my school district was one of only two on all of Long Island that was open. We had been closed on Monday and Tuesday, like the rest, but the powers that be decided that opening the school was more critical than allowing teachers, staff, and students to be at home, cleaning away all of the mess and trying to gain some sort of normalcy back in their lives.
The power in one of our schools went out early in the day, and the district decided to close for the day today, but tomorrow we are open for business once again. I will be there, but I won't be happy about it! My yard and my house are still a mess and I'd love to be able to get through cleaning up. I've got several friends, and students, who are without power, and I'm sure having to get ready and leave the house for work is more of a hassle than it is probably worth.
We lost three days of school this week. Many districts lost all five. As for those two days that we're open, I'd ask if it is worth it? Is it so much more important to keep a school or a restaurant or a dry cleaner open during these kinds of days? Or is it more important to give people much needed time to recover from their losses and try and return to a somewhat normal life? I say the latter.
Of course, where businesses are involved, people lose money, and it's understandable why business owners want to open, but to me this speaks negatively of the nature of our society, where money is above all else. Is making money so important that people have to spend as much as five hours to get to their job, especially when they've got their own messes at home? I don't think it's right. I've always said that no job is more important than my own life, and this disaster is of such magnitude that I think putting our own lives back together far outweighs the need for business owners or ourselves to make a buck. It really stinks, but what are you gonna do?
Just One Picture
I'd like to share some more photos of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but it is late and it IS a school night, so I have no more time but to share this one particular picture with you. Most of my readers know of my love for roller coasters, and when I saw this one I couldn't resist. This one's from Seaside Heights in New Jersey and the image has been floating around since Tuesday. All I can say is "wow!"