I was completing an internship with Cable 6 News up in Middletown. I was dropped at the mall to catch the Shortline Bus. Terror shined in a million eyes, and the radio confirmed our worst fears. Still, it didn’t strike home. It didn’t sink in until I reached the Park and Ride. I looked at all those cars parked in that lot, and then I realized that all those people were never coming home.
An echo of that tragic day traced my heart when Sandy arrived. We were forced from our home for two weeks due to no electricity, heat, or water. We drove around neighborhoods, seeing nothing but darkness. Power lines were down. Poles were snapped in half. Trees conquered the roads, refusing to move. Gas lines wound around not too far from the Park and Ride, and lives once again were broken, destroyed. And we are still trying to recover from a super storm that only happened months ago.
I can feel another echo coming. It quivered with a CSEA meeting, where they stated that our jobs were not safe. Privatization was coming, and with it, unemployment. Urgency was stressed over contacting our representatives in Congress and the Senate, but would they really listen? Or would more lives be destroyed?
I have worked for the State of New York now for four years. This job promised stability in so many areas of my life, and the health insurance did save my life this past year. I commute with another lady, and she sat across from me during that meeting. This change, this echo that was coming would affect her more than me, and some people are already running for the door. But those like me are stuck riding the Titanic, waiting for the iceberg.
A lot of us are from Orange County. Whispers and fears are now chasing our daily commute, and doubt and concern are crushing down upon our shoulders as we struggle with our workload. How can we continue to care about a job that no longer holds a future? When do we leave? That thought is now a jagged knife cutting deep, and there is no stopping this. The echo has begun, and it carries a tremendous force to rip the state in half, burying lives in its wake. They say that unemployment is down. They say that there is no recession. I say otherwise.
There is hope. There are people fighting for us, fighting to stop a plan that could and would destroy lives, but is anyone listening? Do they care because it is not them that is being affected? Will the only time that justice can be served be found in the next election? I don’t know. I just go to work and park in a lot full of cars, cars that are full of lives depending on this job to survive. How can they take that away, and where will that leave us?