New Yorkers may go weeks without their vital subway system. Buses were so packed that drivers had to drive by the crowds at later stops. Some workers walked long distances to reach their jobs.
Like many people, I have connections to big-city dwellers. My son lives in Washington, D.C., and his girlfriend in lower Manhattan.
He was in Charleston last weekend, and we loaded his car with supplies as he headed home early Monday. Thankfully, he made it back with no trouble and came through the storm just fine, never losing power at all.
However, believing Charleston was due for only a dusting, we didn't bother with much preparation for ourselves. I found myself wishing for some of those cans of soup or chocolate chip cookies as the week wore on and our own power stayed off.
My son's girlfriend left Manhattan to join her family on Long Island before Sandy's arrival. They lost power, but she was better off there than in her cold upper-floor apartment near the site of an exploded ConEd substation.
It's clear that the more our society advances, the more we stand to lose -- not only lights and heat, cable TV and Internet service but ways to get to work.
We can tuck away candles, flashlights, coolers, canned foods, even generators. But we still need ice and fuel. Batteries run down or exceed their shelf life.
We are dependent on one another in ways we don't think about when things are running smoothly. That may be truer today than ever in human history.
Again this week we needed linemen to restore power and road crews to clear our paths. We needed cooks to man the grills in restaurants and clerks to run the registers at grocery and hardware stores. We needed caregivers to check on the medically fragile.
We all had roles to play, even if it was just to take care of ourselves and loved ones and figure out how to resume other responsibilities as soon as possible.
Many of us can and should do more. The saints looking after those who can't cope need donations of food and money.
The weary souls who are picking up the pieces -- the power company crews come to mind -- would appreciate patience.
Last but certainly not least, we can be thankful for the comfortable lives we resume.
Friend is editor and publisher of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-4802 or nan...@dailymail.com.