The Sh!t Storm Cometh

I’d like to make a few comments about the devastating October 29th snow storm that hit the northeast.  As I drove home from NYC in the wee hours of Monday, October 31st, I could not help but be shocked and frightened by the significant damage I saw all around me in Connecticut.  Part of me wondered if this was some kind of revenge trees were exacting on us for being so neglectful of the environment.  (One thing I obsess about is the impact on the environment of the constant production and creation of “stuff”.  We should really try to re-use old “stuff”, instead of constantly manufacturing and discarding new “stuff”.  If we did so, we’d have a much smaller giant blob of plastic garbage floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.)

As I navigated around and under felled branches and wires, my heart was in my mouth.  Large pieces of trees hung at odd angles in many places; some were directly over me as I drove, like leafy guillotines.  To try to calm and entertain myself, I said out loud, “It’s a Wild West Rodeo show ‘til the moment you get home, folks, even though we really don’t know this to be so”.  (OK, so I sounded like a lame white schizophrenic rapper.)  And then I thought of our old friend Mayhem from the Allstate commercials…it appeared he had come for a visit.  It was almost easier to think of things that way.

Why was I driving in this mess?  I was coming home from doing a set in a comedy showcase with headliner Mary Dimino the previous night in NYC.  (Go see Mary’s AWARD-winning one-woman show in NYC on 11/11 or 11/19:  I had started my set that evening by saying, “I come from Connecticut, the ‘Power Outage State’.  Or maybe it should be called the ‘Land of Useless Utility Company Executives’”.  It got a mild laugh.  I wish I’d thought to suggest a new state motto, as well:  “I Came To Connecticut And All I Got To Show For It Is This Lousy Tree Branch On My Car”.  That might be kind of long to wrap around the State insignia, so I’m now suggesting that be changed to a picture of felled trees and downed power lines with screaming ninja actuaries in the background.

We just went through the whole extended power outage thing two months ago, only now it’s worse because the weather’s turned.  Must I now be reminded again of how difficult things were in olden times, before electricity, when it was a struggle to do laundry and bathe?  You know when you pass one of those really disheveled, smelly people in public, and they stink to high heaven?  My theory is that 25% of what you smell is their filthy clothing, 25% is their filthy body, and the rest I blame on their personal stylist.

During the hurricane power outage two months ago, my elderly mom said about CL&P, “Well, looks like they got caught with their pants down!”  Today I said to her, “Well, Ma, looks like CL&P got caught with their pants down again.”  To which she replied, “Whaddaya mean?!  They never pulled their pants back up after the last time!”

The worst part of all this is that the thing that’s finally gonna get some results (in terms of encouraging more people to be kinder to the environment, as well as prodding CL&P to be readier to handle natural disasters), is the fact that Halloween got cancelled or postponed in many CT towns.  This truly is a tragedy from the youngster’s perspective; I can still imagine what that must feel like.  And doing Halloween another day is just not the same.  So my heart goes out to the kids.  Kind of.  It would a little bit more if I were not such a….Halloween Scrooge.  I admit it.  It’s ironic, because I’m the candy queen and give out full-size bars to the trick or treaters.  But I mainly do that to make the evening less stressful for myself, as it’s easier to dole out one bar to each kid, vs. letting kids grab at fun-size bars and ending up with no candy halfway through the evening.  That has happened, and it’s stressful, because we get tremendous numbers of trick or treaters in our neighborhood.  I always joke that they bus them in.

If you think I have no reason to be Scrooge-like about Halloween, consider the following:

Last year we got just over 120 trick or treaters.  The number increases each year.  That’s a lot of up and down to the door.  My husband, Dean, who is NOT an accountant, likes for me to track (with pen and a pad) the counts in half hour blocks, so we can analyze the data later over candy bars.

Each year, Dean takes Cam out trick or treating with their group.  I dress in black and orange and answer the door.  (Although there was that one year that I dressed in my friend’s old Girl Scout uniform, which only one or two kids looked at or acknowledged for the whole evening.  Most kids’ gazes never stretched up beyond the big bowl of candy.)

Many kids don’t say thank you.  Some come back for seconds.  I give those a dose of something they won’t forget.  (Oh, there are no swear words or toxic substances, but my attitude is distinctly detectable!)

For some reason, it wasn’t until last year that I realized it wasn’t against the law for me to have a beer and listen to Iron Butterfly while hanging out answering the doorbell.  It makes the impolite kids much easier to tolerate.  And then verbally berate, if necessary.  What fun!  Come to think of it, my perspective has changed.  I am now really looking forward to Halloween next year.

But I am NOT looking forward to the next crazy sh!t storm to hit Connecticut.  Let’s hope we’ve got our sh!t together before our next visit from good old Mayhem.

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