Thursday, July 07, 2005

billy would cry when he thought of the future

Days like this remind me of the sheltered existence in which I live. One of my friends came into work today and was debilitated with shock, because a gas leak had caused an explosion in a house down the street from him. He had not been listening to the news this morning, so this explosion was the cause of all his bewilderment. He and I live in the same world, a world that cannot grasp certain concepts.

I could grasp the idea for maybe a year, that year following that day in New York. Approaching things with healthy suspicion, taking for granted swarms of police officers at major intersections. At first, all of this was cause for feeling unsteady, feeling that the world was coming undone. But at some point over the course of that year, it started to feel like a new reality.

And yet, somewhere along the way, the world reverted. My world reverted, I mean. As if taking off my shoes at the airport meant that everything could go back to what it was. The danger felt again distant. Cause for concern, certainly, but it was happening somewhere else. I live in a small world, a little sphere, and in that sphere, the same realizations recur, reinstate themselves, and then recede away in a constant cycle. When I have visited other countries, I could see the other world, the real one, the one where everyone else lives, but it was, in some ways, like watching it from a bubble. Years ago, in such a bubble when I was visiting India, I remember a cousin remarking that we couldn't take the train that afternoon. I asked why, and he casually replied, "Bomb."

I do not mean to detract from what happened in London at all. Quite the opposite, actually. I am simply marvelling that, while I can whine away in horror about how I may or may not have destroyed a deer, thousands of miles away explosions devastate a city- and the media reports all have this odd sentiment running through them, that this tragedy was not entirely shocking. See, in my world, here, our government would never admit that a terrorist attack was inevitable, even if that was a cold, hard fact. And it's that simple obstinancy that keeps me living in my alternate reality, living under the premise that I am safe. And it's days like today, moments like this one, that make me simultaneously relieved to live in that oblivion and realize that I might never comprehend the unsteady ground that so many brave souls walk on day by day. I want to write that I understand and I am sorry, but it's just not accurate. I don't understand, and I am sorry.

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