shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


There's not much to say that hasn't already been said about what happened Saturday morning. And I'm not fool enough to think that I have anything new to say about it, or that anything needs to be said at all because I think we all got it immediately, felt it, grasped it, when we first heard the news or saw that cloudy streak of smoke burning across the sky.

I was on the phone with my mom, who is almost always the one who tells me when something catastrophic happens. My mom, living in seriously rural America, would have to drive 15 minutes from home to get to a stoplight and after that, it'd be another 40 before she reached another one. And yet, she always knows before I do. She calls to make sure I'm okay, or tells me to turn on CNN. There are no truly disconnected, forgotten pockets of the world in America anymore, not really, which is something that makes me feel hopeful rather than sad. Saturday morning she just said, "Have you had your TV on?" I said no, because we'd just gotten up. She said, "The space shuttle blew up while it was coming back." I started asking questions, but she didn't have the answers. No one has the answers yet.

I told Christopher and his face went very still and we turned on CNN. We made it about five minutes before Christopher took the remote and turned the volume down and said, "I can't watch this."

I watched a little more of it, and I kept myself from crying even though that's what I wanted to do, immediately. It's what I almost did several times that day, when I really let myself think about it. There was no time needed to get over the shock; the understanding was immediate. Perhaps, because I've absorbed the dim memory of our society about what it means to be here, in this place, with this death that feels like the death of our dreams, when we see the smoke billowing around it, blowing it all into something worse than hell: oblivion. But that's just the way it seems at first; in reality, what it did was leave fragments everywhere. Fragments of what it means that those seven people knew this could happen, knew very well that it could all literally go up in smoke, and yet, they did it anyway. It will be a sad day in our memory, but it's also a day when we had the opportunity to witness and celebrate true boldness, which we're so rarely given the opportunity to do.

We went about our day, shopping mostly, looking for bookcases. NPR was on the radio though, so bits kept creeping in. We saw Adaptation. We ate Chinese food. We didn't have to talk about it, because we understood. Today is the day something horrible happened and the only thing we can do is go on with our lives. That's as it should be. It may have looked and felt like dreams dying, like the future raining down amid smoke, but it wasn't. It was just the proof that we still have those dreams, that there are still people willing to risk it all for them.

Saturday may have been the only day this year when the words of my President didn't make me angry, or bitter, or ashamed for this country. Even he understood, immediately. What we do now is remember and go on, and hope.

It makes me proud that the flags outside my office building are at half-mast.

# # #

Sorry if that was a little over-the-top, painful or preachy. It's out of my system now, I promise. The strangest coincidence of the day was reading a Say... submission that deals with space travel and death, which had come in that morning's mail.

Adaptation. I liked it. I didn't love it and it failed me in the end. Christopher didn't really care for it much; found it too hamhanded in execution. I think they did what they set out to do, and yet, in making their point they lost the emotional involvement that the first two-thirds of the movie set up. Which is a shame. When you sacrifice that to make a point about engaging the audience, well, point made but audience disappointed. Still, worthwhile and there's some truly funny stuff and I admire Charlie Kaufman's audacity in writing the script and turning it in and the studio's in making it. It was better than I thought it would be, but not as good as I'd hoped. If that makes any sense.

And, also, we're organizing all our books and discovering lots of doubles. If you post witty things in the comments here (and include your e-mail address), I'll mail you a book or CD from the doubles grab bag. We have to do something with them, so why not this?


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