I thought I could come up with something profound to say today — some lesson I’ve uncovered or some platitude that could apply equally to the four-year anniversary of 9/11 and the two-week anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. But, alas, brilliance doesn’t arrive on demand. Sometimes, it doesn’t arrive at all.

If we really have to go through it, this is where I was on this day in 2004 and, retrospectively, in 2001. So I ain’t regurgitating that mess. But when I awakened today at 9 a.m. and realized what day it was, I remembered Doug and Andy.

Ordinary day
There’s little left to say about them, other than it was the bizarre love triangle of a lifetime. I remember standing on a streetcorner with them on 9/11, taking one of our three scheduled smoke breaks during our spirit-crushing workdays. I’d missed the morning breaks due to meetings, but I was there for the 3 p.m. shift.

Our breaks, usually filled with laughter and jabs and joy — they often told me what they loved about me was that they could rip on me and I’d truly love it, that I didn’t *act* like a superior even though, in our company, I was (and let’s not talk about how much *my* superiors hated our friendships) — were filled with silence.

Our office was located in one of the worst sections of the city — just across the street was a high school where, just the day before, there had been a major assault on a bus driver by three students. Several people had been stabbed. Ambulance sirens had penetrated our breaks the day before.

And the next week after 9/11, I would wake up and decide to go buy my car (as I took two buses into this hellhole and had been followed/threatened/catcalled to and was otherwise tired of carrying a pocket knife and mace), which would be keyed up two weeks later in our crack den of a parking lot (two streets over).

Although, truth be told, I was more afraid of the abortion protesters who clogged our alley because of the women’s clinic next door — you want to see me fly into a murderous rage, try accosting me and beating pro-life rhetoric when all I’m trying to do is just go to fucking work in the morning.

Sorry, I digress. 🙂

The point was, we were accustomed to not feeling the slightest bit safe, and 9/11 served to remind us how quickly things slip away — how we were all waiting on dreams and moments and things we thought could make us happy while just trying to get through a day without being publicly excoriated and privately devastated.

That day, we could be publicly devastated. And we didn’t know how to let it show other than to smoke and nod at each other and look at the sky and wonder what was next. We would later try to find comfort in each other — and I even dumped someone else to pursue this exquisite pain — although in retrospect, you’ve never met three formerly good friends who could have hurt each other more.

So what’s my point? I guess I don’t have one, other than that I hope and pray for myself and for all of us that we go through these life tragedies, big and small, for a reason. I hope that when our spirits, our hearts and even our belongings are washed away, that something even better will be regenerated in their places.

And that, after all the mistakes we’ve made, we can permit ourselves to believe that we deserve those better things.

Learning to feel good again
That was when I amplified my personal crusade to rebel against injustice — that was a time when I started making choices that, while probably wrong, let me make a great deal of my mistakes while I was still young enough to recover from them. (Clearly, I keep continuing that trend. LOL)

I was thinking about my last post about waiting for the Easter egg — wondering what’s going to be in the pot at the end of the rainbow and whether every injustice we collectively encounter will bring us closer to a reward for our patience and good nature. And whether getting upset and reacting to the crazy stuff in perhaps a not-constructive way will reduce the reward.

Like, those of us who can stay quiet for awhile but eventually lose our shit are doomed to wander the earth until we learn whatever life lesson keeps eluding us. And we — I — keep wondering WTF gives me the right and the authority to fight against what I don’t believe in instead of just trying to change to fit what it seems like the world wants me to be.

But then I think about politics (in every realm) and how it’s the diametrically opposed beliefs that keep our country going. And then I hate myself for walking away from discourse, which I often do — not to preserve an uneasy peace but, rather, because the loudest voice is rarely the one that’s the most right.

Not OK
I saw a commercial recently, with a woman screaming that she’s had it with being OK with things that upset her. I think it had shown her saying “That’s OK” when somebody screwed up her order somewhere and a few other things. God, I love that commercial.

I think about that all the time. My nature was always easygoing, although it was just before 9/11 that I got into a groove of wanting to pick a fight with anyone who would listen. I am confident that we’ve all had to give up things we’ve wanted, and we’re left to wonder when we’ll find something to fill that abyss in our hearts.

I know we get tired of life’s little inconveniences (like getting bad customer service or dealing with a series of small hurdles when we’re only trying to accomplish a minor errand). It’s this shit that saps us of much-needed energy and motivation to accomplish the great things we were put on this earth to do.

As I watched the ReAct Now Hurricane Katrina benefit, I thought about the people like me who might have been writers. The ones who made a living doing something else but who had computers and/or boxes full of unfinished stories that they can never recover.

I hope they don’t abandon those creative works. Moreover, I hope their dreams get bigger next time around. It’s so easy to be afraid to dream again after your heart has been broken, and it is my wish that evacuees can recover the intangibles and use them as the foundation with which to rebuild their homes and their lives.

And maybe that is the lesson I take away from today — that the world can strip you of your land, your belongings, your pets, your family members and friends, even your dignity — everything that defines you. Unfortunately, nobody can/will give you those things back, and I guarantee more people are going to die of broken hearts in the next year than any other cause.

I don’t know how to save these people. It’s a challenge from time to time to salvage my own spirit — I have no advice on how to bottle and sell the magnificent strength I’ve witnessed throughout our world’s tragedies for those who could use a dose of it themselves — I’m but a wee liberal who does NOT want to see the estate tax repealed but instead want to see that money funneled into vocational and mental health counseling for our flood victims.

And then I wonder why I am NOT shouting from the rooftops — why am I sitting here with electronic and paper journals full of ideas and plans, letting my ideas go unsaid to anyone who could help me to make them happen? Why do I let my anger over the injustices I see simply rage within me until I can’t see straight, yet I will verbally crucify someone who cuts me off on the Beltway?

If I ruled the world
I usually like to wrap up an entry with something pithy that ties the whole entry together, but I don’t have it today. The only thing that comes to mind is Bertrand Russell’s quote that “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent
are full of doubt.”

It’s not that we’re not capable of changing/saving/revolutionizing the world — we’ve just never had anybody believe in us up till now that we could do such a thing, so we don’t know where to start. There comes a point when you’re tired of debating and you want to start doing — when you want to channel your energy into making the world a better place so that your own little universe is a place you really want to inhabit. Instead, we focus on making our own lives good enough or manageable or maybe even a little bit happy but are reminded by these major tragedies that the world is NOT fine and that brings such a level of guilt when something actually does go our way in our little lives.

I just don’t want us all to look back and know we could have done more — that maybe the reward of knowing that we helped generations to be better off than we were, in whatever shape or form that could possibly take, would be that ever-elusive happiness that we seem to spend our lives searching for. I want us to feel that our voices counted and our intentions became achievements. And I want the patience to not go apeshit in the interim, feeling like I have so much more to contribute to every area of my life and my world and that those contributions would be welcome, if only everyone knew how sincere my motivations really are. That the status quo of not giving more because nothing more is expected of us is an absolutely horrible example to set and an even worse groove to which to succumb.

I never thought I’d want kids in this lifetime, but as the 30s tick on, I wonder if I’ve been keeping a gift from this world — maybe if I can’t personally be the one who delivers the miracles, perhaps I might deliver the person who does. Maybe it’s that I need a team that I trust who can help me to execute my visions rather than trying to do it alone.

Maybe I just need another bloody mary. 😉

On iTunes: Bon Jovi: “Save the World”

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