I am finally home after my deployment to New York City as part of the incredible disaster relief effort of the American Red Cross.
Memories of the long hours, the minor frustrations and the stressful conditions will quickly fade. My enduring memories will focus on the extraordinary team I worked with, the genuine kindness of the people of New York City and the thousands and thousands of people we helped who were affected by Superstorm Sandy.
One memory I’ll cherish is the brief chuckle I received when a fellow worker stopped by my cubicle at our headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. Without comment, he handed me a photocopied sheet titled “You know it’s time to go home when…” The list was not attributed to anyone, yet I share it with appreciation for those who brought a little humor into a serious workplace.
You know it’s time to go home when…
- You start referring to your hotel room as home.
- You start rearranging the furniture “at home.”
- You start receiving mail addressed to “resident” in your hotel room.
- You can’t remember the last time you wore something that didn’t come out of a suitcase.
- You no longer get lost.
- You know trouble spots on the traffic report on the radio.
- You stare uncomprehendingly at the people who have just been deployed when they ask, “How long have you been out?”
- Crisis counselors cry on your shoulder.
- You have trouble finding your home state on a map.
- When you hear of a disaster in another part of the country and you say, “Hey, I’d like to go there,” and suddenly you realize you’re from there.
- You start telling tourists where “the sights” are.
- You start telling the locals where “the sights” are.
- You start losing your native accent and begin speaking like the locals.
I will miss New York, and I hope to return. Yet, the time had come to return home.