October 29th, 2012 / 3:53 pm
Web Hype

American Standstill


We’ve been moved to total standstill. New York City is on its knees. There is a potential for days more of this. If the power goes out, things could be really slow, really quiet.

I am with friends. We watch hours of Law and Order SVU. We listen to Apple TV radio stations called “Smooth Cruise” and “Breeze FM”

We sit in chatrooms. The clouds move above us.

Yesterday, I took a car service from an expensive grocery store. It was too far, with the big plastic bags. In preparation for the storm, we bought $96 dollars of food and drink. The cheaper grocery store, on Knickerbocker in Bushwick, had a 30 minute line.

My work is totally closed. In Midtown, the servers have been shut down and weatherized. A few of my co-workers took their computers home on Friday. I left mine. One of the account people tried to schedule a status meeting for Tuesday afternoon. Seems very um, optimistic.

I walked a few blocks to my apartment to get a change of clothes, a book, and this Mac Air.

In the streets, not much water. Not many people. Shops and stores seemed to be open and closed at random.

I want to work on my novel, but I think the writing would turn out strange. The tone would be outside of my normal range, spaced-out, unstable and distant. I want to listen to the band Voyager One and read Joan Didion’s Miami.

I’ve read this.

And watched this.

I would be excited if the power went out. I can imagine darkness and candles and the technical world pulling away, as if in a car. The door slams, rain on windows, tires, tail lights, Twitter disappearing. Alone at a gas station on Long Island.

So I read more news. The water will probably come up into the streets, with shit in it, near the Morgan L. There are probably guys smoking pot and playing guitar by the station, even now. The recession continues. We shrink and the holidays rise like condos. Manic lights in Manhattan, months after the storm. The oceans become acid.

Things are coming together for landfall. A friend brought over some cans of food, explaining that “they would keep.” She was holding a box of Camel Crushes, a few weeks old. “They need to be smoked.” Someone says that “we should smoke them on the roof, in the eye of the storm. We could all just crush at the same time, crush together.”

When the trains don’t run, millions of dollars are lost. I don’t understand. The calm is imminent.



  1. M. Kitchell

      guess i forgot that all of america was on the east coast

  2. David Fishkind


  3. mimi
  4. Monday, October 29, 2012 | Half-Sanity's Under-God

      […] American Standstill […]

  5. deadgod
  6. A D Jameson

      Chicago is a borough of NYC. So’s San Fran.

  7. Mike James

      Naw, just the majority of the HTMLGiant audience?

  8. Ultra Vegina

      The thing is that this “habit”, this equating America with the U.S is not only retarded, it is a damaging white supremacist bullshit renmant of times past. It is up to north-americans (I don’t have to remember anyone here that Mexico is North America, although mexicans don’t share the “bad habit”) to change this semantic outrage. America is not Mexico + Canada + USA, America is South America + North America.

      Words are weapons, use them with care.

  9. A D Jameson

      Well, all the weathers are connected. (I think; it’s been a while since I took meteorology.)

  10. A D Jameson

      Sometimes the dashboard view at a blog will let you see, geographically, where the page views are coming from. But I don’t have that access here. And, yeah, most of them are no doubt coming from the US. But you’d be surprised. For instance, some of my film posts at Big Other have large Indian/Pakistani readerships.

  11. JosephYoung

      yeah. though, i guess, you don’t have to refer to all to use the adjective. american website/pizza sauce/tragedy.

  12. Grant Maierhofer

      I fucking hate the weather/fucking love Law and Order.

  13. Guest

      You New York/NE corridor cosmopolitan types are a trip. We folk in the dirty, rural, un-hip and unsophisticated South have been dealing with hurricanes forever and no one has ever said, “America on standstill!” while we were getting slammed and Dubya couldn’t even bother to postpone his vacay, but no, not precious New York! New York=America!

  14. deadgod

      Yes; the jet streams, for example, and oceanic currents, for another, attest to the unity and coherence of the parts of the terrestrial climate experienced regionally as ‘weather’. I do doubt that a hurricane in the American mid-Atlantic states, while its cell might reach Europe coherently (?), would make its way to the western shore of the Pacific as the same low-pressure system. Maybe?

      The political joke, of course, is in the term “suburb” (as with Impossible’s “east coast”). Hanoi is a suburb of nowhere else, in the Vietnamese cartographical imagination, I’m guessing.

  15. deadgod

      White-supremacist bullshit definitely does much damage everywhere it festers, but I don’t think the custom of identifying the United States of America as ‘America’ is either white-supremacist or damaging.

      As you know, there’s at least one more ‘United States’–perhaps confusingly, a neighbor of the USA: los Estados Unidos de Mexico. (Mexico, too, is a “U. S. of A.”.) Separating ‘Mexico’ from ‘America’ and ‘Canada’ as three countries is common not just among white supremacists, but it’s also universal in, say, Europe (albeit with – I found it rare – grumpiness about not calling all of the Western Hemisphere “America”).

      There is also the issue of adjectives. Borges is an Argentine writer. Paz is a Mexican writer. Munro is a Canadian writer. Of what nationality–in English–is Dos Passos?

      ‘Use with care’ is always good advice; practicality and choosing battles wisely are modes of this advice.