Irene

originally written on 8/28/11

Was jolted awake this morning, not by Sammy pawing at my face as usual, but by water. Dripping. On my head. Specifically, on my eyelids and forehead and onto my pillow. Got up and took a closer look, only to realize Don’s entire side of the bed was soaked in water. His pillows, comforter, everything. After managing to get almost 3 hours of Tylenol PM-aided sleep, I guess my head had wandered over to his side of the bed unknowingly, and the result was being woken up by what felt like a heavy drippy faucet to the face.Hurricane Irene. I wasn’t planning on writing anything about it, because up until now, I had actually been getting through it okay. It was and is a significant storm for the NYC and NJ areas; and the first time MTA has been closed completely due to a “natural disaster.” (Let’s not get crazy here. This ain’t no Katrina … but that is what these asshat Newscasters call it – a “natural disaster.” In actuality, it is a LOT of rain, for hours and hours, and some wind. So far anyway. It’s not over yet, but it isn’t all that bad thus far.) Mayor Bloomberg, the Grinch Who Stole NYC, basically closed NYC in preparation for this storm. No Broadway, no transportation, no bridges, no nothing. “Get out, you idiots!” is pretty much what he has been saying in his 4,000 condescending, “I’m better than you and don’t have time for your nonsense” press conferences yesterday and today on TV.

At one point, he told NY’ers “If you are stupid enough to remain in high-rise buildings after we have repeatedly told you not to, don’t expect anyone to come and rescue you.” Well alrighty then. He just warms the heart, doesn’t he? The local news has been even more obnoxious and predictable in their coverage of Irene. If you were an Extra-terrestrial visiting Earth from another planet and you put on the local news, which has been on literally 24 hours a day, you would for sure believe that the world as we know it, is coming to an end. Last night, FOX News literally broke into their OWN coverage of Irene, to give us some more “BREAKING NEWS” about Irene. The local weathermen have been relentless. They live for this shit. Sam Champion, Al Roker and the like … I would bet serious money that they all woke up Saturday morning with giant hard-ons; and started immediately jerking off furiously at the very thought of their own upcoming Irene coverage. I have NEVER seen anyone get so excited about tides and wind gusts than CBS’s Lonnie Quinn. Seriously, I think this guy watches Weather-porn to get erect. He is a madman. Al Roker, on the other hand, only gets excited about a meatball sandwich.

So, I had gotten through the day and most of the night just fine, despite dreading the very idea of being completely alone during this storm. I kept thinking: “what if the power goes out? It could go out for hours or days. What the hell will I DO here all alone?” I kept looking at other people’s status updates on Facebook, saying things like: “hanging out with my family playing board games and drinking wine during Irene. No power!”, and thinking to myself: “Wow that’s great. I HAVE no family. My family’s gone.” So, despite getting very sad about the whole thing and feeling sorry for myself and my impending loneliness, I was doing okay. You know, for a widow. But then I woke up to water dripping into my eyeball.

As I grabbed some towels to throw over his side of the bed, and a Tupperware bowl to leave there and start collecting the water, I started to have a very specific memory of the last occurrence. This wasn’t the first time this leak had appeared. About 6 months ago, on another very rainy night, I was woken up by Don jolting himself out of bed in the middle of the night while mumbling: “Goddamit! Stupid piece of shit apartment … Jesus … I’m all wet! WTF! Sorry Boo … I cant see …” (as he flicked on the bedroom light, forcing my eyes to immediately adjust to the shitty flourescenty ceiling bulb in our bedroom)

I remember Don doing the same thing I had just done. Grabbing towels and throwing them on his side of the bed, using the same Tupperware large bowl that I just used to collect the drips, and then us moving the bed over a few feet in our tiny, already cramped bedroom, so that we could possibly go back to sleep. This was the story of our life together. Everything we owned was broken, or seconds away from being broken. We joked about it all the time; how at any moment; anything in our life was in danger of exploding, combusting, breaking down, or just deciding to randomly not work for no particular reason at all. It literally happened all the time with us; so often, that it became a running joke throughout our relationship. If I needed something printed up for classes the next morning, the printer would decide to stop functioning. If we HAD to get somewhere with our car; like the time we were all set to drive to Long Island for the weekend for Sarah and Julio’s wedding, the car would choose that moment to fuck with us; and make it so we would end up having to take the LIRR train out there and then a cab to the hotel AND to the wedding itself. Even our computer keyboards would stop working. For no reason. Don would be typing away, and then, out of nowhere, the keys would stop working. “Oh, you’ve GOT to be kidding me!” he would say. Then he would do a middle of the night run to Walmart to buy us a new keyboard. He did a LOT of middle or late night runs to Walmart to buy us keyboards, printers, a toaster, printer ink, and many other things. He also took our computer in to the local shop AT LEAST four times over the years for different random viruses that would stop our computer cold. Everything we had was broken or falling apart.

But Don had such a great sense of humor, and he was one of those people that made you laugh when he would get angry or frustrated. He was not an angry person at all. We didn’t ever fight about stupid shit. We laughed about it. When things would break, we would lay in bed and laugh and mock our stupid, broken life together. That night, when the ceiling was leaking on HIS face, I remember lying in bed with him, holding hands like we did often, and laughing about the whole thing. “Seriously, who wakes up to water dripping on their face? Only me! This piece of shit apartment in this piece of shit city is gonna take me out, I swear! This freakin’ 99 cent ceiling built out of paper mache and scotch tape is gonna cave in one morning and you’ll find me underneath it. ” “Noooo!” I would say. “Stop it!” He was always coming up with all the various ways that he might die. He wasn’t being serious. He found it hilarious. He would make me laugh all the time coming up with the various ways that New Jersey or one of our horrible appliances would end up killing him. Then I would always say “Noooo Boo …. ” at the thought of him being gone, and I would hug him tightly while we both laughed. I didn’t ever once think that he would really die young, or that it would be because he had a heart attack. Turns out, he was broken too I guess.

So now, as I think about all of this, and about how Don would know exactly what to do in this situation while also making it a hilarious night to remember for us; I cant help but think about all the many things that Don used to take care of. All those manly “husband” type things that you dont realize are SO important and hard to do on your own, until you have to. Like carrying in all the groceries for me; filling up the gas tank, checking the oil, putting in coolant whenever the “low coolant” light would come on in that old car of ours, figuring out how to fix the towel rack in the bathroom when it randomly crashes down in the middle of the night and scares the living shit out of us, figuring out whats wrong with the printer this time, brushing the cat’s teeth as the vet instructed, taking care of me when my back went out and I literally couldn’t move for almost 5 days, carrying my heavy demo table for my part-time job; or my supplies into and out of wedding receptions that I would coordinate, offering to drive me to far away comedy gigs on his one night off so that I wouldn’t have to drive back home alone at night, figuring out what the fuck was wrong with the vacuum cleaner when it kept making a ridiculous noise, showing me how to set the time and create a contact list on my own smartphone, making me soup and tea when I was sick, getting up in the middle of the night at my request, to see what that noise was and make sure there wasn’t a murderer in the apartment … the list is endless.

Don always made me feel safe, and made sure I was safe. Before I met him, I lived alone for years and had to always just figure shit out.I’m a very independent person, but I hated that. And now that Ive lost him, I have to do it alone again, and I hate it even more the second time around. It stings to know that I no longer feel safe; that I’m back to being that scared girl who has to keep the TV on all night, because the silence of being alone is too awful to fall asleep to. The thought of him never being here again to laugh with about our ridiculous life, to keep each other company in a hurricane … hits me like a ton of bricks right in the gut … and I sob uncontrollably.

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