I learned a few things from this storm. Some I already knew. Some that were reiterated. An extremely unedited post off the top of my head:
Local Infrastructure Contributes Perspective: My cousin down south says people down there don't understand the big deal about Sandy because they have gone through these kind of storms frequently enough. Shortly after he talks about how a mutual acquaintances in Brooklyn sees neighborhood locals scrapping to board on a row of 20 buses, and sends me a picture of a scuba diver swimming through the subway tunnels (the main, if not only, means of transportation for many in New York City).
I think, when you get into locations that are as condensed as the Northeast, the whole concept of self-sufficiency takes on a different meaning. It's not a bunch of open space and land to roam and make your way on. It reminds me of when I found myself wandering the back roads outside of a Michigan college town. I was surprised at how many people in what obviously was not a high-income area had so much space in their backyards, and how many had horses in the backyards with nothing but one or two strings of barbed wire separating the horses from the roads. If I sat down and had a discussion with any heads of the households there, and we planned on switching places taking care of each other's families for a month or so, I'm sure there would be plenty of room for disconnect regarding what skill sets and priorities matter most.
It Pays To Learn For Yourself: I ran into a woman who was riding out Sandy's aftermath at her friend's (or was it a relative's?) place, a friend who still had heat and electricity. The friend was a Fortune 500 executive who owned a house on an expansive, private compound in Northern NJ. Nothing made me question her until she said the entire compound was powered year-round by a generator used only for the compound. She said nobody refilled or checked on it, because it was powered by natural gas (like the gas you use for your stove). I'm thinking that just sounds dangerous, like an explosion waiting to happen, and a little "off." Going by how she described the property, the generator would have to be pretty large, and probably custom made. She said it cost $10,000 to make and install, and I'm thinking that sounds low for all that. I am going to go find out how something like that would work and how much it would cost, just so I know. I don't know if it's misinformation, exaggeration on her part, or lack of knowledge on my part, but something is missing there.
History is A Trip: This book just gets more interesting as I read it. The most interesting thing about sex in general is that, no matter how much we develop or advance as a society, it will always be there, in more or less the same form familiar to our ancestors. But sex, power, social structure, social dynamics, and warfare have far more influence on each other, and are far more intertwined, then I expected.
Voting Will Be Interesting: I went out today to see where I would be voting tomorrow. The location was switched twice. It will be interesting to see what the turnout will be like. Fewer roads are closed off and power seems to be back on in more places. But if your car (or perhaps your home) was wrecked by this thing, and you have to find out where you are voting while finding out a way to get there, things may not be that easy. NJ has provided a way to vote online or e-mail. Of course though, that requires a way to access power and internet access or get to a place that has it. There's a ton of implications there. 20 days more would make sense.