Sandy’s Message of Friendship

Have you ever wanted do something in the company of someone else but did have any real friends you could count on? Maybe you wanted do something special, like – see a Yankees afternoon game, take in a show, or go by bus to one of those shopping outlets in a neighboring state, or maybe just visit someone in a hospital – but could not think of anyone who might want to share in the activity?

No one would dispute the intrinsic value of having friends. Passing time with friends is enjoyable. Social behavior experts say that friendship generates long-term emotional health benefits. Recent studies have shown that healthy relationships make aging more acceptable. Sharing with friends has the added benefit of lessening stress and grief in our daily lives. Reaching our goals can better be archived if we are pushed and motivated by friends. i think that all of us could use a healthy dosage of friendship in our lives. The camaraderie  derived from being around people is an important factor in our happiness and continued development. With all the benefits that friendship offers we sometimes stop ourselves from trying to befriend someone.

Yet; some of us are shy by nature. There are those who are loners by force of habit.  Some people make friends only with people who fit a particular model. I know a few people who will only seek friendship with someone if it advances their career goals. While some of us struggle to make and keep good friends there are others who make friends as easily as checking their Smartphone. It is said that humans are social creatures. It is clear that enjoying and making friends does not come easily for everyone. Social skills differ from person to person. I believe that if you want to have more than just “a best friend” it important to develop your social skills to the point that meeting and sharing with people comes naturally. The skills necessary to make friends are transferable to all phases of life.

It is important to have different types of friends who fulfill different emotional needs or personal requirements. It is rare to have that one perfect friend; therefore, it does not make sense to invest the time and energy into looking for only this type of friend. Putting aside all preconceptions it is important to take advantage of any realistic chance of forming a friendship with someone. Sharing with others their life experiences is an integral  part of our continuing education and development. There are educational benefits that are derived from getting up close and personal with someone else.

Hurricane Sandy has visited the NYC metropolitan area and gone. By almost everyone’s standard the storm was an unwanted and ungrateful guest in the City. The death and destruction caused by the storm has been well documented and will not be repeated here. The storm caused me to reflect upon many aspects of my life and society in general. The storm’s passage presented me with an opportunity to think about the meaning and value of friendship.

By October 28, 2012 governmental officials and weather forecasters had NYC residents ready to the extent possible for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. They warned residents to expect the loss of electrical power do to heavy rainfall and strong winds toppling trees. The experts believe that the impact of the storm would be devastating.  City residents were given instructions on how to prepare for the approaching storm. ABC News (NYC) offered 7 useful tips for surviving any natural disaster. I must confess that out of the 7 tips offered by ABC News I had prepared to carry out only one.  Residents were advised that they should stock up on necessities if travel was disrupted and electricity was lost. As a consequence of the constant warnings people literally flooded into local grocery stores and supermarkets. The checkout lines in the stores were very long.

I am sure that in my life time another natural disaster will occur. That event could have a devastating impact on my personal welfare. When the next disaster comes I will definitely implement ABC’s seven tips and take other preparatory precautions.

Perhaps more out of curiosity then a belief that it was necessary in the early afternoon of October 28, 2012 I went shopping for supplies. The local large supermarket was full of shoppers. The news had reported that the supermarkets were full of shoppers trying to pick-up necessary supplies at the last-minute. Users of twitter were tweeting about the long lines at the check out counters. There were long lines at the supermarket that I had entered. Not wanting to wait more than an hour to pay for my few items I left to find a grocery that would probably be less crowded. It is a sad commentary on my priorities at the moment; I allowed my impatience to prevent me from taking steps to secure my personal safety and well-being. I left the supermarket in search of a less crowded store.

In the grocery store near my residence the workers and shoppers were discussing the storm and how to best prepare for it. The owners of the store are from Indian. They shared with us their adventures of having lived through monsoons that left complete devastation in their wakes. Most of the customers in the store were recent or second generation immigrants. It seemed to me that everyone had a story to share about how they survived an earthquake, a coup d’état, a hurricane or years of violent civil strife. I thought that their stories were interesting but I could not imagine that Sandy could or would cause anywhere near the destruction that these people had experienced or seen.

After purchasing my few items I was approached by a man who asked to speak with me. I recognized this person. Like me he was a regular customer in the grocery store.   Whenever we happened to meet in the store or passed each other in the street we would exchange pleasantries and engage in small talk. It is strange that I never took any steps to become better acquainted or, even friends with this person. I will call this person “Rasheem.”

Rasheem invited me to spend the passing of the storm at this home with some other people. He explained to me that he had invited a number of people over to share food, survival supplies and companionship during the arrival of Sandy. He believed that mega-storm would disrupt electrical power. In numbers our personal safety would be enhanced. Rashseem told me not to bring anything that required the use of electricity. The way I saw it; I had just been invited to a potluck dinner.  I welcomed the idea of riding out the storm with others. The possibility of making friends during the storm appealed to me. I made up my mind to attend the gathering at Rasheem’s house.

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