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Hurricane Sandy: A Tragicomic Experience

alexb2016's picture

As Hurricane Sandy was making her grand debut on the East Coast, I was similarly making an entrance in the Eastern arch of Pembroke, joining the ranks of those who intended to ride out our loss of power with a night of festivities. We played music in the common room, donned our bathing suits, and celebrated the class cancellations Sandy had initiated. In those instants, we were living in the comic mode, and were merely "riding out the storm"--with the simple intention of getting by without electricity. When I woke up the next morning, my facebook newfeed had been bombarded with images of debri and destruction that Sandy had left in her wake. The headlines read, "The Storm of the Century", "13 People Dead", "Hurricane Sandy Wreaks Havoc Across Northeast"; suddenly, the previous night's festivities seemed childish and unsympathetic juxtaposed against the morose news that had taken over the internet. Now, I saw Sandy through the tragic mode, and attempted to put myself in the shoes of those who were not as fortunate as those of us at Bryn Mawr. Although the Sandy party offered a nice, enjoyable break from reality, it was imperative that I made the switch from the comic mode into the tragic mode to realize the situation for what it was. As we discussed in class, it's important to approach issues from both the comic and tragic modes--a tragicomic experience if you will. As Hurricane Sandy was making her way along the East Coast, what were you doing, and would classify your experience as being in the tragic or comic mode? 

I hope everybody stayed safe over the past couple of days! 



Sarah Cunningham's picture

don't feel too guilty

Don't you remember? The comic mode is a good thing... it means survival. It's important to be able to laugh and have a good time when things are going wrong.

ZoeHlmn's picture

Comic? Me too

I remember seeing Alex and Rochelle in Pem East for a night filled with partying. It is as though the Bryn Mawr bubble alowed us for the night to forget about the world outside of campus and really let loose, maybe even too loose. The next morning I was welcomed by a terrible headache and sore throat and was brought back to the reality of the situation. The horrendous after images of Sandy's wake made me feel very guilty about wasting my night away and celebrating instead of being more mature and seeing what was going on in other parts of the country and what was on the news.

mtran's picture

Grateful for electricity

I came across this article, which might have something to do with Sandy and the electricity blackout at Bryn Mawr: It may have been hard for us to experience 19 hours without power, wifi and heater, it might have been 'fun' for us to have classes cancelled for two days, but nearly 1.5 billion people in the world today are living without electricity on a regular basis. Our life becomes less convenient without what seems like a luxury to 25% of the world's population. We should know how lucky we are in this world...

Sara Lazarovska's picture

"The Pem-tastic Cabin Fever" by Sandy

I, too, camped out in the hallway with my friends on Monday night, mostly because it was too dark in the rooms to do anything, and the backup generator had the hallway lights going. What ended up being a surpringly good Monday night, with a lot of anecdote-sharing, candy, and green lights shining into the hall through the open door to our room (did anyone else see the green lightning bolts? what was all that about), was mainly due to the fact that we had countless people working tirelessly to make sure we were safe. When the power went out that night, people from Campus Safety came up to our floor and informed us of the situation and reassured us that we were safe. There were also on site minutes after lightning struck close to Erdman and started a mini-fire. Coming from a country with not-so-stellar emergency response units, I was immensely grateful of their presence.

However, it was the worried calls from my sister and my parents, and the numerous electronic messages from my family and friends in Europe, that really opened my eyes to the severity of the weather conditions. Being cocooned all nice and safe at Pem East, it didn't occur to me that people might actually die from Hurricane Sandy. For me, it was just bad weather (fine by me - another reason to not get out of my dorm and, consequently, out of my sweats) and 2 days of cancelled classes that taught me exactly how dependent on electricity and the Internet we all are. Some advancement in the technological age, when not even a day without power left us feeling quixotic...

Rochelle W.'s picture

I was also "living in the

I was also "living in the comic mode" while hurricane Sandy was passing through. Playing card games with friends and dancing in the dark occupied much of Monday night. We were trying to pass the time as best we could and make use with what we had. But after all that I did manage to pull myself back into the reality of what was happening, and of what had happened, back into the tragedy of it all. I think realizing the tragedy in a tragic situation is always important. In passing I heard people who wanted to continue on living in the comic mode make comments saying they wanted the hurricane to come back, not realizing that the hurricane they were talking about had just ruined the lives of so many people. In this case their desire for comedy, to me, seemed like a lack of empathy.