Siblings are so interesting. As Frankenstorm lurches up the east coast, my sister Pat, whose profession should have been as meteorologist, is rubbing her hands together, almost gleeful in her reportage to me about the incoming weather system. She's like the TV people, who also have a strange glint in their eyes as they wave arms over heads and show us dire storm tracking maps. "An unprecedented event!" they howl, clearly not unhappy as they show us the European model vs. that of the U.S. "Who will be right?" they wonder, everything now a competition as international weathermen make their predictions, the most serious of which is that Hurricane Sandy will take a sharp turn west and collide head-on with a cold front from Canada and another system marching forth across the country, causing high winds and rain and possibly snow. East coasters, they warn, should be prepared for massive power outages.
I just got off the phone with Pat. Her concerns about the storm are practical ones. How will we make coffee if the power goes out? What about cooking? Does your gas stove work without electricity? (I don't know the answer to this but I'm thinking not.) We can wrap potatoes in aluminum foil and toss them on the fireplace coals, can we put canned food in a pot and do the same? We need candles, what if the power is out for a week? What then? If it gets cold I'll come to your house, we'll stay warm by the fire, we'll cook like the pioneers, we need batteries, what about the dogs?...and on and on.
I think none of these thoughts. If the power goes out for a week and I can't cook, I'll either slurp cold soup from a can or, better yet, take this opportunity to lose a few pounds. I have a special ratty oversized sweater I wear on snow days, and just this morning was pondering its location. Most importantly, though, I'm worrying about Halloween. I love Halloween, love to dress up and scare the kiddies as they knock on my front door. Will Halloween be ruined, ironically, by a weather event called Frankenstorm?
I'm imagining the scene if the storm hits upstate New York with Halloween going forward as planned: I'll be in a witch outfit, twirling around handing out candy in the unlighted neighborhood. Pat will be in the back family room, trying to roast a chicken over glowing coals, in a bad mood from lack of caffeine.
Siblings are so interesting. We're so similar in our mannerisms and shape of hands, our voices, our values, our history. But really, we're so different. Meteorologist Pat is preparing for The Perfect Storm. My only fear is that the kids won't show and I'll be slumped in a darkened room, candy bowl full, pointy black hat put away until next year.