Got no heat, got no Internet, got minimal cell phone coverage.
But two artifacts from antiquity have helped us stay in touch with reality since the lights went out Monday evening:
The familiar blue wrapper containing The New York Times in the driveway and the stolid landline telephone in our kitchen.
I have been able to read the paper – even without that technological marvel called the Internet that is suddenly not available.
I marvel at the work my friends at the home office in New York and the College Point plant and the drivers and deliverers did to produce this miracle at our house.
They gave up the reassurances of being with family to do their jobs the way “newspaper people” (like my father and my mother and my three children) have been doing for a long time.
Note I said “newspaper people.” It’s still a paper -- the best in the world, as far as I can see – produced by some very smart and dedicated people.
Yes, I love the emerging on-line form – the future, I am sure. I flick through the web package to seek the latest electoral percentages from Nate Silver and am a junkie for breaking news as it hits the web. But for this elder, there is nothing like “the paper.” In my driveway. Thank you, all.
The same goes for the landline phone. We have invested in cordless phones (that wear down much too quickly) but have resisted all those offers to link our phones to our cable package. We kept the landline, sensing that in a time of troubles it might enable us to get calls from the office and family and friends, plus robocalls from local officials who say LIPA may get to us by Thanksgiving or maybe New Year’s.
Our house is intact while some homes took direct hits from trees. My wife has made great meals on our gas stove and we have gas-heated water and the other day our neighbors let us run a cord to their generator, giving us a bit of electricity for a few chores. We are blessed.
Plus, those relics, the paper in the driveway and the landline phone, keep us in touch with the world.
(sent from the local stop-and-shop)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.