When seeking frivolity in the face of tragedy, one need go no further than The New York Times’ Thursday Styles section, where, last week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, several women stepped out from the rubble to lament that the storm had caused them to gain weight.
As reported by the Times, here are the experiences of three New York women upon whom the disaster visited the horrible misfortune called “The Sandy Five”:
“I can’t even talk about it — my jeans do not button,” said Emily Marnell, 31, a publicist who cited both boredom and anxiety as a reason she fell victim to odd, middle-school-kid cravings for junk food after her Gramercy Park apartment went dark. “I went through Duane Reade and was grabbing Double Stuf Oreos, whole milk, Twix, Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids,” she recalled in horror.
Amber Katz, a beauty writer who lives on East 23rd Street and made daily forays north for a shower and a hot meal, said: “I have never eaten more fries in my life than I have during this week. It was every day.”
Preparedness, in some cases, only made things worse. Like a good Girl Scout, Andrea Lavinthal, a 33-year-old editor, loaded up at Whole Foods, thinking that she could be holed up in her Union Square apartment for days as the storm raged. But she did not anticipate a power failure that rendered her refrigerator useless, meaning she either had to consume or toss her perishables in short order.
“Waiting for the storm seemed to make everyone want to do three things: watch ‘Homeland,’ eat and tweet,” Ms. Lavinthal said. “Once the power went out downtown, the only thing left to do was eat — and eat.”
Well. Easy enough to be judgmental about an article like this, to call people shallow and tasteless for caring about such things in the face of death and loss. But the truth is that everyone is only living his own life, and to focus on one’s own petty concerns when something huge and heartbreaking happens is, well, entirely human. We hope that Amber, Emily, and Andrea, and everyone else who feels a little pudgy in the wake of Sandy, is feeling a little trimmer as they and the rest of the city get back to their routines. Also, we just thought we should mention that volunteer work, in addition to being very rewarding, burns a fair amount of calories.