". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fixing the Wrecking

Someone somehow got a captcha of el V's access code -- it was via his card number, not mine. It happened at two different ATMs uptown Friday night. Evidently when disasters like Sandy hit this is very common. People use the chaos as cover. We get the money back though, and that's what matters. On our way to the bank we could see how many places aren't open, and neither are the schools around here.

Some things aren't going to be straightened out so fast. Like our across the hall neighbor, who is a very good neighbor. She has mental problems which she deals with via therapy and prescription meds, which need a fair amount of adjusting throughout the year. She's had a double mastectomy. She alone in the world -- no family. She weathered the storm here all alone, and now has a breakdown. Her hospital isn't operating. She can't go outside. She’s suicidal.  She said no one checked on her all this time, and she’s starving. She was always skinny. Now she’s just bones. Am sitting down to rest the screaming back before looking for more supplies for ML. I promised to sit and have tea with her after the next round. I do think we did get back just in time. I feel awful for her, and once again am so aware of how fortunate we are. She’s having a hard time understanding that there is no milk yet to be had, or bread. Deliveries start at the supermarket tomorrow -- I checked since it is a block below our bank branch. 

Most people left our building. She wasn't able to leave this time because of various reasons, including her friends were infested with bedbugs. (OTOH, she gets these phobias about non-existant bugs and mice too, I know. This means her meds need adjusting.)

Nobody who did stay though, seems to have checked on each other, until we were able to get through to another woman who went through it alone in the building. She never contacted ML either, until then.

The storm created a medical crisis in a city already in medical crisis. There aren't enough doctors who deal with real people's problems. Hospitals had to be evacuated. Other hospitals, including the Emergency Crisis hospital, had failed generators. All the facilities downtown are damaged and mostly, on the east side, that flooded, and aren't really ready.

Beyond that, all the people who keep a hospital clean, pick up and delivery laundry and supplies, live far away and can't get in.

I am happy to report that the very fact of knocking on ML's door and asking what we could do for her this morning, has helped her enormously. She's even determined to go out and see her therapist to hand over some 'dangerous' medications that she has a prescription for -- this has to do with her suicidal feelings. But I think those have subsided enough, now that someone has demonstrated a care that she lives or dies. And somehow, today too, her therapist got in touch with her after that.

Since these days have felt at least a decade long to me who was off in lovely weather, food, friends and hot water, have left me confused and stressed -- imagine what these days must have been like for people like ML, without lights, hot water, food, transportation and all the rest. And so alone.

When I say our side of the Dark Zone was left to twist in the aftermath, I wasn't joking. Nobody thinks anyone over here needs help of any kind. We're all rich and famous. So, no, nobody checked at all.

The refrigerator-freezer are fine. This is merely a long, hard chore. The freezer’s vacuum close meant not even water dripped out of it to the refrigerator. So almonds, granola, the three lbs. of coffee I had just bought and so on are fine. Only a bit of not tightly enough sealed parmesean has a couple of spots of mold. Also I caught the building’s removal people just in time to hand over lbs. of tightly wrapped refrozen meat, vegetables and stock. And a lonely half-carton of mango sorbet, just before the building's pick-up for this stuff showed up.

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