By: Mary Fran Bontempo
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There was nothing funny about Sandy.
The mega-storm that pounded its way through the Northeast last week sucker punched everyone and everything in her path. Entire towns along coastlines were devastated, as streets became beaches and boats found new homes in back yards blocks away from the ocean and bays.
Combining elements like a tropical storm with a full moon and high tide is a recipe for disaster for communities on barrier islands—or any island, if you want to get technical. Sadly, Sandy found her trifecta and walloped the places many of us go for rest and relaxation during the summer months, turning them into battle ravaged war zones.
But here in Bucks County, PA, the beating was delivered courtesy of high winds which knocked out power to communities and towns for days. And days. And days.
The sudden plunge into colonial times (phrase courtesy of my nephew, Danny) reunited families and friends, like it or not, who found themselves bunking with one another in a primitive effort to keep warm and not go stir-crazy. And again, while nothing about this was funny, it did prompt some reflection, about things missed and not, while waiting for the powers that be to once again proclaim, “Let there be light.”
Missed: Television.Okay, I said it. I like my TV. Much as I would like to claim to be far too evolved to pine for such a pedestrian pursuit, I did. In a big way. Sitting on my bum on the couch after a long day, watching people I don’t know entertain me while I decide via the remote whether or not they are worthy of my attention, is a bit of a power trip (no pun intended). Plus, while watching the tube, I don’t have to think, which is something I try to fit in at least once a day.
Not Missed: Television. Yes, I love my TV, but I did not miss the endless onslaught of stupidity served up regularly via the likes of Honey Boo-Boo and her clan of misfits, the Swamp People, the Hoarders, the Moonshiners, and any number of other programs that proudly show people at their worst. Score one for Sandy for at least temporarily relieving the airwaves of such crap.
Missed: Light.Not only was electricity non-existent, the sun appeared to take a week-long sabbatical too, adding to the sense of doom and gloom. Yes, everyone looks better in candlelight, but that’s because you can’t see them. Nor can you read, which I discovered quickly that first dark day into night, when I mistakenly thought, “Oh this is okay. I’ll just catch up on my reading.” Sure, chats by the fireside are nice, but after about 17 straight hours, you run out of things to talk about. And I will never again play another game of charades. Kill me.
Missed: Heat. When the power finally returned after several days, we all but had icicles growing off the ends of our noses. Snuggling is fine, but only if it’s not mandated by fear of freezing. Forced snuggling tends to make folks a bit surly. Or maybe that’s just me.
Missed: Hot Food.Just how much cold cereal with lukewarm milk can a person take? And please, some coffee. Or tea. Or any beverage that’s not room temperature.
Not Missed:Thinking about what everyone is going to eat three times a day, every day. ‘Nuf said.
Missed: Gadgets.Again, I am loathe to admit this, but I missed my computer. I also lived in a constant state of anxiety that my cell phone would die, which was actually irrelevant as no one had any service anyway. The first step in getting help with an addiction is recognizing you have a problem. I have a problem.
Not Missed:Electronically-Induced Guilt. Yes, at first there was panic, but there’s always panic. We’re all so tethered to our gadgets that we’re perpetually afraid of missing something, not responding to something important, neglecting our emails, texts, blogs, etc. Yet after a few hours of being unplugged and realizing that everyone else was, too, I felt less unhinged. Even better? Realizing that even if I wanted to plug in, I couldn’t. A built in excuse to be lazy. Awesome.  
Bottom line—being without power for a few days, despite the reprieve from modern life, kind of sucks. But it sucks a lot less than being without power for over a week, or having four feet of sand in your living room. So I’m going to donate to the Red Cross, send up a lot of prayers for those in need and be grateful that I can read, type on my computer and make a cup of coffee.
And when the electric bill comes in next month, I’m going to pay it, for once with a smile on my face.
How did you fare during Sandy’s arrival? Click “comments” below and share!

Article first published as Taking a Beating from a Girl Named Sandy on Technorati.