29 Things I Learned in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

As anyone who's been following me on Twitter or is a Facebook friend knows, I've been quite obsessive in trying to coordinate relief efforts post-Sandy. I've now been to many of the most affected areas of New York, and I know that recovery will take years. In this list, I mix the funny with the serious, hoping that we can all laugh and learn.

1. New York State Troopers need a fashion makeover, ASAP.


2. LIPA is the worst power company on the face of planet earth!


3. Hurricanes don't discriminate between rich and poor.


4. There is no shortage of bottled water donations to Sandy victims.


5. Your and you're will always be difficult ... (especially when trying to stop potential looters!)


6. People have shotguns on my sister's street, and are ready to defend themselves.


7. People who helped others for many years can find themselves in need.


8. People keep a boatload of junk in their basements.


9. A petition can be an extremely effective tool for change and media will take note! (Heck yes, we stopped the marathon!)


10. Minimalism should always be in vogue, because nobody needs so much stuff.


11. Some people will profit from disasters, but it's okay, because it's necessary.


12. Don't take your favorite local brewery for granted! (We'll get you back on your feet, Barrier.)


13. When there is no power, communication goes old school. (I spent time distributing flyers around Long Island with the latest information, and at times, when there was no paper, people even had to act, essentially, as town criers.)


14. You sometimes need to turn into a press conference into an angry rally to get stuff done. (And for this, I am proud of the citizens of Oceanside, my home town.)


15. People are generally good except for the 0.1% who are absolute scumbags. (People have become known as "regulars" at donation sites, as they're clearly hoarders who are stocking up based on the goodwill of others.)


16. If politicians try to place sole blame for the lack of response post-disaster on a power company, they should be booted from office in their next election (or sooner!).


17. You don't feel the pain when you're not in an affected area. (When I've been at work in Manhattan, I would never know that 10 miles away there are people who are desperate.)


18. Nor'Easters suck, and so does that mid-word apostraphe.


19. Rebuilding should be strong and take advantage of technology.


20. We need oysters to protect us from the next big storm.


21. Hopefully evacuation orders will be taken seriously in future storms.


22. Zipping around Manhattan on a bicycle out of necessity isn't as scary as it would seem.


23. There are so many individuals who have gone above and beyond their call of duty, who will never get the recognition that they deserve. (The folks who take care of my grandma, for one.)

24. Suburban areas that are incorporated as villages or cities face an easier time recovering from the storm because they have government and emergency officials on staff. (My hometown, Oceanside, only has a volunteer fire department, a school board, and a library to absorb all of the administrative efforts associated with what will surely be a long relief process.)


25. Tragedies do ignite a strong sense of community that would not exist otherwise.


26. The Occupy Movement has been able to re-brand itself as a force for tangible social good with Occupy Sandy.


27. Don't go swimming around here for a while.


28. Lydia Callis, NYC Mayor Bloomberg's interpreter, deserves a Tony Award.


29. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is here to help (even though their name is un-PC).