It’s been an interesting week, starting with the North Carolina earthquake on Tuesday that caused tremors in NYC, followed by Hurricane Irene preparations that started on Thursday. A few of my friends with kids in the A and B evacuation zones decided to pack it up and leave the city, not wanting to put their kids through a terrifying storm. A weekend vacation out of the city seemed much more enjoyable than trying to plan for a disaster – potable water, juice boxes, milk, cookies, tinned food, flashlights, batteries, and something to entertain the children to distract them from impending doom. Some other friends took off for the Foxwood’s Casino in CT. Others hunkered down for the ride.
My idea of preparing for the hurricane? Going out to Long Beach to maintain my tan and pay homage to the sand and the ocean before Irene came in and messed everything up.
I took the LIRR out to the beach with a newly married friend, J., whose husband is eager to have kids. J. is great with kids and kids adore her, but isn’t ready to have one yet. We met up with another married friend, C. who lives on the island, and her 14-month-old baby boy. We drove out to a beach club she belongs to, one of those family-oriented resorts with teenage cabana boys and girls, private beach front, and a well-maintained pool. With the impending storm, the club was fairly empty, but there was a family with two girls in the cabana next door, retiree couples playing cards, and a number of stay-at-home moms with their rambunctious children in the kiddy section of the pool.
I felt slightly envious of the orderly suburban-ess of it all – the moms yelling with their Long Island accents at their kids, the husband with the New York Yankees logo tattooed on his leg, and his over-sized 7-year old daughter (she looked like she could have been a tween), who insisted on showing us her underwater handstands. We clapped even when she couldn’t make a successful handstand or front somersault in the water. We cheered as she cannonballed into the pool from the springboard. J. half-jokingly asked me and C., “We’re supposed to encourage her, right?”
We settled in for the afternoon, chatting with the family next door, feeding and playing with the baby, and catching up. C. was concerned about her husband’s desire to hunker down in their oceanfront property on the island. “If I didn’t have a baby, I would totally stay, but now that I have a child…” She drifted off, reflective for a moment about the change in the new gravity of her decisions. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The sun was turning our skins dark brown. The baby was turning a bright pink. The beach was starting to empty and the waves crashed violently against the shore. On the radio, the announcer began reporting mandatory evacuations in Long Island and the Saturday shut down of the subway and transit system.
We packed it up, C. still not knowing if she and her family would be staying for the storm or leaving for a hotel further inland. J. and I hopped a train back to Brooklyn to purchase groceries and supplies for the storm.
To Be Continued…dun dun dun!