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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

Remembering Sandy


I say this as if I experienced some sort of hardship, some great loss or personal struggle because of the impacts of Hurricane Sandy. Which, of course, I didn't. True, I was here. In NYC. Not yet a New Yorker myself, I was on a trip with my then-boyfriend for his birthday. And while we had to deal with inconveniences like all our events being cancelled, no way to get anywhere, and nothing to eat other than the small bag of groceries we had the sense to purchase, really the only reminder of our predicament (other than being forced to survive on Macaroni & Cheese from a box) was the damn crane a few minutes from us that they kept showing on the news.

But I do remember being scared about the unknownness of the storm. Going to bed that night amid the howl of strong wind and having no idea what the state of things would be in the morning. It's a sensation I had never experienced until living in the east. (Yes, I consider Cleveland to be east. And NYC is even *easter*.) The power of forces like hurricanes and tornadoes, the relentlessness of lightening during a lightening storm, the sheer volume of snow and depth of cold. You don't get any of that out west. It just rains.

Maybe it's the fact that you just don't have a prayer when up against a natural disaster, maybe it's that I now live in such a large city, but I find I'm much less tolerant these days (read: not at all tolerant) of movies that depict the fictional destruction of entire cities. In this day and age, doesn't that just hit a little too close to home? In any case, it's been 2 years. That's incredible. So is the rebuilding we've seen. So are the progress, expansion, and triumphs still to come. Almost nothing amazes me more than the resilience and strength of the human spirit. That is what I'm toasting to tonight.


Rain Across the Border


After being stuck in NYC for Hurricane Sandy, I'm a bit sensitive to storms when I travel. So when it started torrentially downpouring in Toronto on Monday while I was in town for work (we're talking record-breaking rainfall for them), I got a little panicky when the rain didn't stop. And when the subways flooded. And when the cab ride to dinner took an hour because all the stop lights were out. And when the restaurant ended up being closed because they had no power. It's one of the only times while on business travel that I ended up with a pocket of time to read the book I had packed, simply because it was too nasty to go outside and explore. Can you say silver lining? I can.


The Greenest Grass


Not sure why I always feel such a pull to be in New York City, but I do. I feel this pull pretty much every day when I think about the time I've spent there and the possibilities that undoubtedly exist. There's probably some rose-coloredness going on here, as living in NYC would be hard in some ways, I'm sure, not to mention it would drain my savings. But the pull is still there.

My good friend L lives in the city (she's the one I mentioned in this post who bought a one-way ticket), and every time I talk to her, I hang on every word. She's walking to Times Square, she's just coming up from the subway, she's smelling a street vendor's cart, she's afraid for her life in a sketchy block, she's shadowing a performance of Phantom of the Opera. Even the picture she sent me (now that I have a phone that can receive them) of a flamboyant character jump-roping in the middle of street filled me with a longing to be there. I could see the street in the background, the green awnings of various businesses.

I've had some very real examples in my life lately that completely disprove the "grass is always greener" theory, but why am I convinced that NYC grass is the greenest? Why can't I shake this pull? What I can do is book another trip, so that's exactly what I've done. I haven't been since the week of Hurricane Sandy (talk about a bizarre week to have been in NYC), and I've been feeling the need to get back. Never underestimate the power of the pull.


Stuck in NYC

There are worse places to be, surely, although it's somewhat torturous to be in a city as fabulous as this one and have there be absolutely nothing to do. And I really do mean nothing. Everything is closed, all transportation at a standstill. I walked down Fifth Avenue today, and it was so bizarre to see all the stores closed. Especially since I had remarked to my aunt J when I saw that my trip was coinciding with this storm, "At least Tiffany is open rain or shine." Au contraire.

I'm in town for a week-long class, although not surprisingly, my class has been cancelled. I did get a few days of NYC fun in before Sandy hit, but now that the city is all but shut down, my options are somewhat limited (read: there are none). But true to writer-form, I've been reflecting on how grateful I am. Not only because a tree didn't fall on my rented apartment last night, but also because I now have a few days to get some writing done. What's more, I'm grateful that I have hobbies; grateful to have things I enjoy doing that can occupy my time and satisfy my need to create, to learn, and to pursue my goals.

Another thing that becomes apparent to me when I'm in NYC (or when I'm on any kind of trip, really) is how much my writer-mind is different from most people's. I tend to focus on details and find myself wanting to know more about things that don't really matter. Am I overly curious? I guess I just wonder about things, about people, and I'm always thinking of how something could be written up and used as a metaphor for life, as a killer story, or simply as a fond memory of something I once experienced. Case in point: While lying in bed last night looking out at the storm, it wasn't the wind that had me captivated. Rather it was the windows of the towering apartment buildings across the street. There were trees blocking my view, but as wind blew the branches around I would get glimpses of the few windows that were lit up, and I found myself wondering who lived there and how they came to be living in New York. Probably not a normal thought process during a hurricane, but if a description of a high-rise window shows up in one of my books someday, you'll know where I got it.