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November 3, 2012

Small Improvements

In the blackout, we've been fortunate enough to have water all along, which many people I ran into over these past few days did not.  This meant we could take showers (albeit cold ones), wash dishes, and have plenty of drinking water to store in the water-filter container that resides in our non-functioning refrigerator. Recently I have even started boiling pots of water to add to the cold water in the tub, thereby producing a bath of sorts.  It is a lot of work for scant payoff, and I begin to understand why the British of the 1960s bathed only once a week, and the Russians of the 1860s only once per winter.  (Some British and some Russians, anyway--no doubt there were cleanliness maniacs even then.)

I noticed the other day that the city had set up a temporary drinking fountain, with 6 or 8 separate spigots, down on Houston Street near Sixth Avenue, about a block away from us.  This meant that those without water could at least come fetch a few bottlesful at the local well. And this is not the only good, small thing. Other signs of public spiritness abound, from the legions of regular and auxiliary cops policing the darkened areas at night (they help us get across the signal-less streets, and probably reduce hugely the potential looting and mugging) to the general kindness of people at large.  Strangers readily exchange information and good-luck wishes; people in stores and on the subways, in those areas where such services are functioning, do not complain about the endless lines and uncomfortable crowding; overall, there is a civic atmosphere of mutual trust and endurance. It is not a bad thing to have witnessed, this surge of warmheartedness among Manhattanites, and it almost makes up for the physical cold that is now beginning to descend on us.  
November 3, 2012 12:17 AM | | Comments (0)

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