This world. This place. This life.

Hurricane Sandy and the economic divide


This morning I posted on Facebook a story from The Atlantic about Hurricane Sandy and income inequality. The article said that, for the most part, those with resources survived the storm more easily than those with fewer options.

My cousin Marilyn, who lives in NJ, gave me permission to share her response.

It’s true.

I’ve been staying in a hotel (2 bedroom 2 bathroom suite with kitchen and sitting room) since a car crashed through our house Oct. 5th. This turned out to be helpful during the storm, as I’ve seen people come in literally begging for rooms and there is a three-page waiting list.

The cleaning lady, Carmen, has been diligently toiling from about 7:30 a.m. till well after 8 p.m., cleaning lazy people’s rooms, making their beds, providing them with coffee, towels, soap, etc. I found out she herself has been without power or heat since 8 p.m. the night of the storm, yet she has to come and wait hand and foot on lazy people who can’t even make their own beds or hang up their own towels to dry. I borrow cleaning supplies from her because she has enough to do—two other housekeeping staff have not been able to make it in. It’s a 4-floor hotel.

Last night I offered her some sterno, candles, and canned Progresso soup to take home, and she took it right away. Her willingness to accept it told me how cold and difficult it must be for her, to go home from work each night to a cold bed, cold food, and cold shower. Yet, she’s here for 12-hour shifts, waiting on those who are living in comfort and luxury.


4 thoughts on “Hurricane Sandy and the economic divide

  1. Thank you for Marilyn’s view into the reality of survival. Daily comforts are easy for me to take for granted, sitting warm and dry in light here on the other side of the country. Gratefulness seems inadequate but I’m suddenly filled with it, leading me to think about how acts of kindness and generosity, no matter how small, can make a difference.

  2. I feel bad for all of them, but especially the cleaning lady and others in her situation.

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