News

Disconnected

Disconnected 11/04/2012 7:00 PM Eastern

When the 108-year-old hickory tree came crashing through our family room on Monday night, the house shook as if mighty Thor had swung his hammer down on our roof in Stamford, Conn.

We were all awake — my wife and the two kids — and, only seconds before, as the wind roared through the windows like a special-effects sound machine, I had assured Sean, 9, and Mel, 7, that we were completely safe and sound.

Superstorm Sandy shredded its way through the East Coast, leaving a path of destruction and, given the sheer volume of genuinely tragic tales I’ve heard on the radio (Radio Lives!), I feel terribly lucky.

After five days without electricity, I wish I could share some feel-good nostalgic lesson of how much closer we became as a family without video screens. Or how I got to know myself better through such a natural disaster.

Truth is, I would have robbed a church to get a good cell signal for my iPhone. Maybe I’m just cranky because gasoline generators make the neighborhood sound like an angry hornets’ nest. I am writing these words now inside my Jeep on a hill one mile from home that has a good cell signal, waving cars past me. It ain’t fun. No one is connected. And we all want to be.

The screens we’ve come to depend on do indeed command an unreasonable amount of our available free time and yes, are a distraction.

But they do make our lives better, and their value, at least for me, will never be underestimated.

Because when they do work, they work magnificently. I can’t thank the tiny crew of reporters, editors and designers at Multichannel News enough for their heroic efforts to put this magazine out this week. They are a squad unparalleled in their sense of duty to readers and dedication to journalism.

The printers were unaffected by the storm, but our offices (on East 28th Street in New York) were closed due to the outage. Company email servers were down. We resorted to home email addresses, cellphones, texts, Internet drop boxes and landlines, where possible, to communicate.

The result — if you are lucky enough to be holding a print edition in your hands — is the one issue I’m most proud of this year.

 

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