SEA GIRT, N.J. (AP) — Kids built Legos and rode bikes instead of playing video games. Dogs were walked twice as often as usual. And movie nights with friends — the lucky ones with generators — were cause for celebration.
In the well-kept inland sections of Sea Girt on the Jersey shore, Superstorm Sandy did little property damage. But it did knock out power, and four days later, no one knew when the lights would come back on.
For sure, living in the dark for 13 hours a day is an inconvenience. But for Dawn DeMarco, a holistic health practitioner and a divorced mother of three, it brought at least one unexpected pleasure.
"It's kind of a blessing" for the kids, DeMarco said, "because all they want to do is play video games and be on the computer and watch TV, and they can't do it!"
As darkness fell Friday evening, the only illumination along Laurel Avenue in Sea Girt came from a Verizon Wireless truck at the end of the road. Parked next to a pitch-dark Verizon store and blasting techno music, the generator-powered truck — which usually hawks its wares at food festivals and state fairs — gave residents a chance to charge their phones while browsing the latest tablets and smartphones from Apple, Samsung and Motorola.
"There was a lady actually crying," said Kent Bernard, the Verizon employee who manned the truck. "She was so thankful to just have a phone charging. She hadn't been able to talk to her parents since the storm."
Farther down the street, homes with recessed lighting and high-definition TVs were illuminated only by the warm, faint glow of candlelight. The only sound was the humming of the occasional gas-powered generator. Debris had been swept up into neat piles, awaiting pickup by the curbside. Bored teenagers strolled down the street, and the occasional bicyclist whizzed by, all but invisible.
Jamie Shannon and his girlfriend were passing the time in their candlelit living room with their dog and three cats, listening to a battery-powered radio. On their front porch, they had a cooler stocked with beer and wine.
"I think we're kind of lucky here without power," Shannon said. "We're getting around. The dog's been walked four times a day, just out of boredom."
Gordon Hobbis, a volunteer firefighter and the owner of an industrial-supply company, has been logging long hours during the storm. Although he hooked up a generator to his house on Wednesday and was planning to have neighbors over to watch a movie, he's still living more simply than usual.
"I kind of enjoy it a little bit because it's a complete change of pace," Hobbis said.
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