Hurricane Sandy left a lot of us Northeasterners housebound for several days, which, in turn, led to a fair share of boredom eating. I joked about it. Jezebel joked about it. Everyone was joking about how the storm gave us free reign to stuff our faces. Do you know what I ate for breakfast during Sandy? Pancakes. Stacks upon stacks of pancakes and trust me, I regret nothing. A few hours later, I would eat lunch, a meal that would last from noon until the time I fell asleep at night (likely still chewing) and then I would wake up and start all over again. Speaking to my friends, I found they were all doing the same thing — every last one of us were eating like it was going out of style.
Now things have changed. Most of us have been forced out of our sweatpants and back into the real world. We've learned that there are consequences to eating for a week straight without moving from your couch — consequences that are manifesting themselves in about five extra pounds that's settled around our midsections. But, hopefully, we've learned some other, more important things as well.
During the storm itself, it was hard to keep track of what exactly was going on outside of home. Several people lost internet, then people lost power, but, at least from my comfortable perch in Williamsburg (where the lights stayed on), it was hard to differentiate Sandy from any of the other bad rainstorms I've experienced in my life. It wasn't until the rain stopped and the internet started working again that I could begin to fathom the devastation that the hurricane had caused. Footage started filtering in from Jersey, Staten Island and the Rockaways. Countless people were homeless. Children had died.
Ten days later, the New York Times has published an article on the "Sandy Five," which featured quotes from several women about the fallout from their hurricane binge eating. I've noticed similar talk on my Facebook wall and Twitter feed, people complaining about their post-storm weight gain. And hey, it's okay to joke about it for two seconds. We need levity. That's human. But it's not something we need to keep talking about. There are people in the Rockaways who, rather than eat their way through the storm like I did, went without food for days. There are people who are desperate for batteries, diapers, tampons and now — after the Nor'easter has delivered yet another "fuck you" to the East Coast with a foot of snow — coats, blankets and heat. To keep complaining about a 5-lbs. weight gain is as unseemly as it is privileged.
If you're bummed out about having slapped on a little bacon weight, that's your prerogative, but please forgive me for saying — in light of witnessing families who have lost everything they own — I could not give less of a shit about your slight weight gain. Go ahead and complain about it privately. Make self-deprecating jokes to your friends. Use your unusually high blood sugar to give blood. Go to the gym (or, better yet, burn calories volunteering). But before you start publicly complaining to the paper of record or to Twitter, just keep in mind that, in the wake of the storm, there are people experiencing things a lot less mundane than a slightly too tight waist band.
Jeans Tight? It's Sandy [New York Times]