Surviving the Apocalypse So Far

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The NPR radio station here announced that the serfs on New Jersey’s coast who have ignored Their Rulers’ orders to evacuate and are instead riding out the storm have passed the point of no return. They’re stuck in their comfortable, beloved homes instead of Leviathan’s dangerous shelters until Sandy passes, poor things. Between the lines is the implication that these rebels deserve what they get. Oh, they certainly do.

Meanwhile, with Our Rulers commanding us to stay inside, I felt duty-bound to head out into the wild and woolly streets for a stroll. Nor was I the only disobedient slave: The streets aren’t bustling as they usually do, but a surprising number of businesses are open, and people are shopping, dining, living their lives despite Our Rulers. From snatches of conversation I’ve overheard, it seems that many folks have tired of government’s histrionics. They turn almost as jaundiced an eye as we do on the prognostications of impending doom from politicians who can’t figure out how to spend less money than they steal, let alone predict hurricanes.

I wandered over to the East River and its promenade, where a goodly number of New Yorkers had gathered to enjoy this robust weather. Some rain is falling, yes, but so far in this area, the day has been pretty much like any other stormy one. The promenade features a stairway leading to a bridge over the FDR highway, a major artery running down Manhattan’s East Side. Though heavy traffic on this route normally clogs it, the FDR was eerily empty — perhaps because everyone was on the promenade, enjoying Mother Nature’s exhilarating show! And what a show it is: the river racing, the whitecaps, the wind gusting so that a gal knows she’s alive, whipping splatters of rain!

As we were leaving the bridge, my husband speculated that perhaps the cops had shut the FDR: How else to account for the long patches of glistening, empty asphalt? And I wondered whether one day soon, enjoying storms will be yet another innocent pleasure the State steals from us when its “advice” to stay indoors hardens into a regulation — all on the pretext that such wimpiness keeps us safe.

Fortunately, we drowned such gloomy thoughts with a delicious dish of shrimp lo mein at our favorite Chinese restaurant. I asked the waiter, whom we know and who lives in Queens, how he arrived at work with the subways closed. He said simply, “Car service” — an exorbitant expense for such an employee. And he’s ready to spend the night there at the restaurant if the government closes the roads, too, in addition to the subways. I marveled at the dedication and loyalty of these hard workers. While Our deluded, deceitful Rulers praise themselves and “first responders,” it is the taxpayers they persecute and pester who are the heroes.

3:00 pm on October 29, 2012