Last September I saw the Bangles perform. I grossed you all out with the notion of the “carrot sac”. I hosted a dinner for some American friends. Roald Dahl had a birthday. So did my brand new little brother. I raved about kiwifruit. I shared some Buffy spoilers. All these little mundane life moments, you know? There I was, just swimming along, oblivious and happy. And then something terrible happened. After a year, those words don’t even seem like mine anymore. I’m disconnected enough now to see my own reactions objectively. I see my own confusion and fear, along with a secret and shameful sense of excitement at the fact that my generation would finally have a “defining experience.” I watch as those feelings turn to anger and sadness. Then, gradually, equilibrium is regained. I’m almost disturbed at how quickly I came to accept the situation and move on. Does anyone else feel like that? I didn’t know anyone in the World Trade Center, and no one I know even lives in New York. It’s almost as if this anniversary of mourning makes me feel guilty for not being more effected. Am I all alone here?

The most prophetic quote from the month: “As Snookums put it this morning when we were going our separate ways at work: ‘If America goes to war, we’re going to Australia.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself. Get me the hell out of here.”

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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  1. I feel bad for saying, but I got sick of hearing about it by October 1.

    Continuous tv coverage on every channel, radio stations cutting into songs and doing updates, newspaper and magazine coverage… It made me sick. But I have AD/HD- I get sick of everything given the time to do it. So, I just marked my “lack of patriotism” up to that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am patriotic. I’ve always been, before the towers fell and now a year later. Yes, I feel sorry for everyone who was hurt, or died. Yes, I feel sorry for everyone who lost someone they loved. Yes, I feel anger towards those who would dare attempt to make us feel insecure. But you know what? As bad as it sounds, I moved past it. Now, I’m back to worrying about paying bills, and if I can get into college, and if I can afford to move across the country, and such. Life goes on, and it always will.

    There’s no one authoritative figure to deem you as “unpatriotic”. All of us have times when we aren’t. Just because you feel guilty, doesn’t mean that that’s a correct way to feel. I can understand feeling guilty if you were the terrorist on that plane and forced it into the Tower. And I can understand you feeling guilty if you planned the whole attack and you are the mastermind behind it.

    I cannot, however, understand you feeling guilty for moving past it. If you CAN move past it, that shows a sign of growth, and maturity. You and I, and several others are the lucky ones. We accept what’s happened, and we know that in the end, justice will be served, possibly along side a great heaping portion of revenge. So, quit feeling bad for feeling guilty. If anyone should be tarred and feathered, it’s me. I still LIVE in this country, and I stopped watching the coverage less than a month after it happened. Please, don’t feel bad for moving on.

  2. I was just talking with my mom about how we feel about the renewed media blitz going on with the anniversary. You can’t turn on a radio, tv, or computer these days without revisiting last year’s events.

    I think it’s all getting excessive (especially considering the time and $$ spent on this, example being Congress’ trip to NYC) just when we’re all getting over it. I can understand, however, some people’s need for closure (we certainly don’t need anything as a reminder; I can’t schedule a meeting or look on the calendar without remembering every moment of that morning).

    Anyway, my mom works in an elementary school just miles from the Pentagon, and they’ve decided to do nothing more than have a moment of silence (which they have to do daily in VA anyway). One of the issues is that they fear that some of the kids who weren’t immediately (as in close family member or friend lost) impacted would feel guilty about that fact. So you are definitely not alone, Kris.

  3. Can I just give a bit of a rant about my day? I go into work in a fantastic mood (180 degrees opposite yesterday), and the first patient I deal w/ is asking me about an eye exam. Great! I tell him what the days/prices are and he asks me who the doctors are. I say Dr. Nowak is here 2 days and Dr. Walton is here on Wednesday. He then asks if I wouldn’t happen to have a picture of the doctors. I don’t think anything about it b/c most pts recognize Dr. Walton by face, not name. We have pictures of both our dr’s posted and I point them out to him.

    Then it starts:

    Redneck: You know, I was down in Dayton the other day and their doctor was this Iranian.

    Me: (cautiously) Uh huh

    Him: You know, those people have caused a lot of heartache.

    Me: Yeah, well, you know the really sad thing is he’s probably American and now he has to deal w/ all this racist discrimination crap for something he had no involvement in.

    Him: *walking away, shaking his head*

    Me: (calling after him, b/c I’m not quite finished) A lot of women have caused a lot of heartache, but I’m not one of them. And, really, so have a lot of older, white men….

    I’m so sick of dealing w/ the public sometimes. And the fact that he assumed it was ok to ‘confide’ his little pea-brained insight to me makes me sick. I have to deal w/ people acting condescendingly to me b/c I’m a woman in a management position and I’m very young. I can’t imagine what anyone who looks vaguely of Arab descent has to deal with. Sometimes I just want to go home and get in my bed and say to hell with it. Some people just don’t get it.

  4. I wrote that before I looked @ your post from last year. It was so unbelievable when it was happening. It’s still kind of unbelievable. Today is going to be unreal.

  5. Oh man. I think you had the best possible response to him though. I’m not sure I would have had the restraint.

    I’m just glad I’m in a place where that doesn’t happen. Well, okay, racial profiling happens everywhere, and most of it here has to do with the Aborigines, but other than that, most Australians couldn’t give a fig if you’re African, Asian, European, whatever.

  6. hey, i feel exactly the opposite (or the same but different…or something) about all this – i don’t think i EVER dealt with it. we were in london, i had my own *shit* going on, i was concerned and interested and all that (i think – it’s hard to remember, easier to forget – those days were such a blur) and i just felt generally upset, in a detached way. (if that makes any sense.)

    but now on my way to work this morning, i was inundated with broadcasts of radio programs from last year at this time. *american* reactions i hadn’t heard – some quotes from david letterman i hadn’t heard – the BOB & TOM show and their reactions – and more and more and more – i was bawling before i got halfway to the office! i couldn’t turn it off, though. i called mom and left a message to say i loved her. told her to call you and wake you up to say the same. i didn’t let any of it affect me AT ALL. it should have at least a little bit, right? now it’s hitting me all at once and i, too, feel guilt…but it’s for just now realizing (and maybe without the greatest personal reasons, like knowing someone, in NY, say, who was directly affected) how much everything absolutely sucks. how mom’s going to explain it to joey someday. how i’m going to explain it to my kids. and what if something like this happens again?

    see, i could go on and on, but i feel like these are reactions everybody already went through 11 months ago. maybe this october i’ll finally be ready to progress to the pissed-off stage………who knows…..

  7. Yeah, she just called me. I was settling down to a nice hot pork chop and instead I got to listen to her scold the baby for half an hour. Thanks. 🙂

    How is she going to explain it to Joey? How did we learn about Pearl Harbor? Granted, they’re not exactly the same, but in actual effect on his life, I don’t think they’re very different. I think you underestimate the ability of people to cope. Think about London. They’ve had terrorism there for most of the last century. Every couple of years the I.R.A. blow something up, or some freak sets off a nail bomb in a gay club. Things happen. I think you’re letting yourself get caught up in the drama of it. I can understand Letterman’s response, and anybody that was affected by it. But I think with a lot of the rest of us, it’s just bandwagonning. It’s like all the kidnapping reportage from the last few months. Yes, it’s sad that kids get kidnapped and killed. And it’s alright to feel a moment’s grief for that. But to actually allow yourself to get overwhelmed with grieving (when you’re not involved) is almost selfish, I think. If I’d lost somebody in the 9/11 attacks, I think part of me would resent the fact that my personal tragedy has been subsumed by public mourning. It’s been repackaged by the networks as a product. That sucks.

    Eh, I’m just ranting because I broke down and watched a little bit of the live broadcasts just now. (You can’t avoid it; it’s on every bloody channel.) They interviewed some Australian woman who was *supposed* to be in the WTC that day but wasn’t. And she’s all crying and hysterical and stuff. I can imagine feeling some weirdness about your luck, but she’s turning it into a publicity opportunity. I mean, what kind of claim to fame is it that you *almost* got killed? It’s silly. She pissed me off.

  8. yeah, agreed, agreed, agreed…that lady pisses me off and i didn’t even see it – BUT, here’s a point: i think it’s valid, regardless of who you are or where you were, to be at least a *little* upset (granted, not necessarily “overwhelmed”) that 3,000 innocent human beings were either blown to pieces, crushed to bits, burned to death…or had to jump out of a building to avoid one of those ends. just because i didn’t know them doesn’t mean i can’t rightfully mourn the fact that they were real people who died so terribly – real people who were just starting out on a normal workday. real people with faces and homes and families. real people (and the real people who knew them!) who got royally ripped off by SOMEBODY – and we don’t even know who, for sure. i don’t need the media to “dramatize” all that for me – i know it happened and that’s enough. i’m not going all crazy-public with my sadness at all that, but i also don’t feel it necessary to watch others’ sadness on TV. it’s just extremely difficult to avoid feeling forced to “jump on the bandwagon” with everyone else. f*!#$ng america…

  9. and i guess it’s not the part about how to explain what happened to the kids…i guess it’s more about how to articulate to them what it means, and if and HOW it affected me. i learned about pearl harbor in 8th grade history with mr. parker. stats, figures, a few black and white photos in a book i probably never read. i didn’t and probably still don’t understand the scope of what happened then, because nobody articulated it to me. hell, i dunno…maybe i just didn’t listen…

  10. Yeah, 3000 people died, but Amy, more than that die of, like, starvation and AIDS in Africa every day. And nobody gives a shit about them. That doesn’t mean that we can’t mourn the 9/11 victims, but I think you have to scale back your “feeling bad because lots of people die horribly” motive. Lots of people die unjustly every day around the world, and if you grieved for them all you’d never do anything else. Like I said, I don’t begrudge the victims and those close to the tragedy for wallowing in it. But the rest of us should acknowledge the fact that the only reason we mourn these people and not the ones in Africa, is that these were American and were presented to us on television.

    Yeah, I’m still kinda pissy. But I do see what you’re sayin’.

  11. I believe that “Americans” tend to feel very safe and protected from the reality of the world that others less fortunate live. We have our work, our families, our clubs and a million other very important activities and issues to keep us safely in our bubble. Selfish? you bet. The attacks of Sept. 11 made us feel unsafe in a way we never felt before. Those people weren’t those poor people in distant places or times we’ve disconectively read about or saw on tv. They were people just like ourselves, and we got to see it live as it happened on tv. Yes, it was tragic. But I think the hard part was learning the real truth. We do live in a place that can be attacked. Our bubble doesn’t feel so safe and protective anymore. I don’t see that as wholly bad. Self absorption happens everywhere, not just in the USA. Maybe instead of dwelling on the terror which mostly makes us either very afraid or more determined to surround ourselves with all the distractions that make us feel safe, lets remember what happened as a reminder to live. Reality never changed, just our perception of it.

  12. Excellent point Cindy. Thanks for that. 🙂

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