The Land Of Confusion (Sandy Part IV)

I had planned to write only three postings about Sandy. But yesterday’s posting was pushed in-between, and I wanted to move to write this part too, and there could not be any better title than Genesis’ ’80s hit. We have all seen the destruction that the storm delivered, but actually, there was something else that happened. Something interesting, that has a lot to do with digital communication. Not the social network this time, although here it would actually helped a lot.

Now, before I go in-depth. The title is picked because it is really confusing. Even the thoughts behind this posting. Is it selfish, or not? Is it logical, or not. I honestly do not know.

Now, three days after the storm, I have seen more destruction in our township that I did not know of yet. There are not 3 trees fallen on houses in our area, but 9. And we are talking about a 4 block area. Even when their houses might not be destroyed, we are talking middle to lower-upper class people, already trying to make the mortgage every month, who know have to repair their home for tens of thousands of dollars. The banks have no cash anymore. There are long lines before the gas stations. Yes, the world is not yet back on track. And everything, every day, reminds us of what happened. And more and more, we were so lucky. So, with the day-in-day-out reminder of bad news, wouldn’t you think that having something, just something small, to put your mind to rest and think about something light for a moment, would be a good idea?

Yesterday was Halloween. And Halloween was cancelled, sorry, postponed with no set new date. Now, I do understand this from a grown-up point of view. But Halloween is not a grown-up holiday. It is for the kids. Something they look forward to for months and months. And even that has been taken away from the kids now, be grown-ups who do not understand that it might have been such a good thing to let it go on. Actually, even for the grown-ups. If you live without power for day in day out, you are looking for something to do. Halloween gets you out there, mingle with people, see your kids have fun again instead of shivering from the cold.

But no. Halloween was now inappropriate. It needed to be cancelled, sorry, postponed with no set new date. Now, I have a daughter, 7 years old, could not wait for Halloween to arrive.  We did not yet hear this news from Halloween’s cancellation, sorry, postponing with no set new date. We heard this minutes before we left, and my wife and I just said to each other that we would simply walk, and see if there would be any others.

So we walked, and it was the most heart-breaking evening. Our daughter just knocked on some doors, and they would be opened, and where-ever there were kids, they were all dressed up. But staying inside, because, well, the township had cancelled Halloween. We talked to the grown-ups, all dressed up, simply to just then have Halloween inside, have their family dressed up… they were just not allowed outside, because some child-less officials decided Halloween would be inappropriate. And as you have noticed, I mention a lot of times it was not cancelled, but postponed. Yes, that is what it said on the website of our township. On the homepage, at 4pm, the town officials decided to post that Halloween was not going to go through, and that it would be postponed without any planned new date. No news. Nothing.

First of all, who reads their town homepage each and every day? We heard it because my daughter’s friend told her on the phone. Sorry, but call us stubborn, we are Dutch, but you cannot ‘cancel’ or postpone a holiday. Sure, you can postpone the Halloween party in a school, fine. But you cannot cancel a holiday. Just like you cannot cancel Christmas or New Years Eve. The fact that you find it inappropriate doesn’t mean it is not there.

Especially when there are so many bad things happening, and children are faced with problems all day long… for crying out loud, give them a break. As everyone knows, every grown-up can decide to participate in it by flicking their porch-light on or off, or close their door. If people would have found it inappropriate, than they should have closed their doors and turn off their porch light. Let people decide themselves what to do.

Actually, still, quite a lot of people decided to simply ignore the order… but those were people who simply handed out candy. Our daughter was simply one of the only ones on the street. Sure, she got a mega-load of the really good candy, but it still has a bitter after taste. Seeing the twins on the corner, two little girls of maybe 4 or 5 years old, all dressed up as fairy and princess, could not go out to walk, because no one knew what to do, and what was even allowed. Isn’t that the terrible part? People actually did not know if they were allowed to give out candy or go on the street to do trick-or-treating. And I am not only talking about people who also stayed safe and sound during Sandy. I am talking about people who actually got hit, who just wanted, so badly, and just wanted to do something fun with their kids for a change. And all day, they were looking forward to it… to be smothered 2 hours in advance.

Mentioned, in a single line, on the homepage of the township.

Postponed… with no set new date.

Have you ever told that to your child? Sorry, but Halloween is another day, but we don’t know when?

The whole thing is, in this area, to get everything back on track again. Restaurants are opening up again, trying to make up for lost business. People try to get their groceries again. The postal service was back delivering already on Tuesday morning, we could watch any inappropriate thing on tv yesterday… that was not banned. No. An innocent holiday for the kids… that was inappropriate.

Well… I think that was inappropriate.



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