Friday, November 2, 2012

On Being Powerless and Being Grateful

Powerless is not being able to do anything about a certain circumstance. Or in the case of many New Yorkers it is being without power. Actually it is both. Downtown is a ghost town. Traffic lights are not working. At night it is pitch black as if we have approched the world's end. In some parts of Queens there is pilaging, especially the part where there were several houses that burned. Parts of Jersey such as the shore are under water. Some people are stranded without power, food, or heat as we begin to approach winter. It is bottom line, bare bones. When you hear the words FEMA you know it is a disaster.

Everyone has been cooped up including myself. Not many people have been able to go to work because of the transport situation. Then there are those with cars who are getting to work, but it is almost useless to go because there is no gas. Several waiters I know are taking cabs from the outer boroughs but by the time they get to work and get home they have burnt up their earnings. When I say there is no gas we are end of the line there too. At six in the morning during my jog I saw cars miles long to get to the gas pump. A woman and a man were screaming at each other. The woman said, "Asshole, I was here first." The man responded by calling her a fat twat. Cars were beeping loud enough to wake the dead already supposedly walking the Earth on All Souls Day. Asshole, twat. Can we wait to exchange profanities until we have all had our coffee?

There have been the buses, overcrowded. One woman I know who I call her Porcelin Doll because she lives with a much older boyfriend and has no mind of her own and is always on channel Goody Goody took three and a half buses to work. I told her stay home. She said, "What am I going to do, sit around?" Well you are bus sick now so yes. But perhaps this Goody Goody who makes me gag did have a point.

For the past few days I have been grounded. No work because the subways have been down. The phones have been dead. Anywhere that people are able to go they are packed like tuna in a mercury filled can. I am living on my laundry money because I am not working. I am drinking bottled water and living on canned food. Until yesterday my gym really was not open so I wanted to deck someone, lose my mind, and then accidentally kick a puppy. I hate being grounded. I hate being home bound. I hate being out of work. I hate the fact that it is not my fault. I want to shake my finger at God and scream, "After years of struggle I was on my feet, making progress. Now none of my contacts are answering their phones because you took their power away!!!!"

Then I have to remmeber I am blessed. I have power. I have water. I have heat. I have a roof. There are so many people without. The trains are starting to run. My phone is starting to ring again. The power will be restored Saturday. My life will resume soon. Some people are without. Some people dont have homes. Some people dont have power. There are children freezing. As I selfishly shake my finger at God for my proverbial traffic work in my life, I also have to remember to unselfishly pray for the families who are getting aid right now. They need the grace and mercy of whoever is upstairs. I just have cabin fever. These people are truly powerless. They didnt ask for this. They really can't control their situations. I am grateful my problems are only luxury problems.

As I sit in the land of self pity I ask why me? I have been through so much in my lifetime. At twenty one it was the abusive boyfriend who stalked me. At twenty four it was being near the poverty line and career disappoints that made me wonder if I ever had anything going on. At twenty five it was the death of a good friend from a long time battle with drugs that nearly ripped my heart out. At twenty six it was being stabbed in the back by people when the tide started to change in my life and not knowing who my friends were as well as the death of another friend from suicide. At twenty seven it was the horror of having my house robbed and being stalked by a fan to the point where I had to get the police involved. Now it's a natural disaster. I ask why me? Then the answer is why not me? It's called life.

I also find myself in gratitude because I have food, clothing, shelter and heat but also a lot of people around me who care about me. Whether it is my fans around the world or friends in the city or family members in Pittsburgh everyone has been emailing me, calling me, and texting me with the same question, "Are you okay?" Friends have been inviting me over as I have been selfishly losing my mind online. I have felt peace and relief like I am being cared for. In all this chaos I feel okay.

In this disaster I also see rays of love and hope. I see people giving food and shelter to those who are without power. I see emergency workers going into dangerous conditions to make sure families are okay. I see workers going to work even when gas is low to try to provide for their families. I see the MTA working to get the water off the tracks and Con Ed to get the power back so the greatest city in the world can come back to life.

Then again I realize we were always alive. We might get knocked down but we keep slugging. When the power comes back we will all be back to work. We will all go back to our luxury problems. Slowly we will forget what happened, filing it in the back of our psyche under bad memories.

However we must not forget. It is times like this in our lives that we truly forget to be grateful for what we have, because the things we take for granted may be taken away at any second.

Love April

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl


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