One of the main purposes of creating this blog was to help folks think about the population of the multiply betrayed kids in a new way.
I have been amazed over the past few days that I personally know three families on Long Island who have lost their homes completely. Three. Three! Three? Three?????
I haven’t lived on LI for over forty years. What an oddity I thought. And, with 90% of the Island still – four days later – without power, phones, and Internet, I may end up knowing more. Odd.
I measured it by the horror of the World Trade Center. I personally knew nobody who had been killed there. I knew folks who knew folks, of course. I had relatives of relatives who died. I had neighbors of neighbors who died. But personally? I didn’t know anyone.
Yet now I know three families, living in three separate towns, whose houses are gone. Three separate families who lost everything. Clothes, mementos, bills, pictures, letters, financial records, computers, tools, furniture, even cars. The very house itself, for each family, is either gone or will have to be condemned and razed.
Then, this morning, watching on TV the continuing coverage of this storm from hell, I was taken aback by one of those “factoids” rolling on the screen at the bottom. It said that the Long Island electric company (LIPA) was estimating that 100,000 homes in their catchment area have been destroyed or severely damaged. One hundred thousand? Not counting the ones in Jersey or the city? One hundred thousand on Long Island alone?
And I thought that now it makes sense; my perspective shifted. I had assumed, without thinking about it, that the three I knew were maybe three of a few hundred. It was an automatic assumption on my part. So, I had then consciously asked myself: “What are the odds of me knowing so many of these people?
But with 100,000 on Long Island alone, whose houses are gone or might as well be? I know only three hundred thousandths of the total of those with such losses. 0.00003 percent? Don’t hold me to the math – just to the enormity of what’s happened in the metro area.
Perspective. That’s the only real way to clarity, and therefore to understanding.