I haven't known what to say about what's going on with the hurricane. So many others have been saying so much, and all I've been able to do is watch, numbly, at the incredible footage of a city underwater. And let's not forget the smaller towns that are just ... gone. I've actually visited Gulfport and Biloxi several times, because one of my best friends lived there for years -- actually, she worked at the Beau Rivage, which I *think* might still be standing, although ravaged. So all the images of the flattened beaches, demolished casinos, the absence of the cute row of houses across the highway looking at the water, all of that makes me feel raw and sick and ... to use the word again ... numb.
I took a nap when I got home this evening. I have been complaining about the return of my Texas allergies, but have realized that I should just shut up and be grateful for everything that I have and everyone I know who is safe. So, I slept. And now I am awake, in that hyper-groggy, after a nap-that's-too-long state. Flipping around the channels, I am pummelled once more with the awful images and stories about the victims of this awful natural disaster. My own Aunt Paula and Uncle John and cousins are displaced from their home in N.O., although I know they evacuated on Sunday, so i'm trying not to freak out at the fact that we haven't yet heard from them.
Somehow I landed on the A&E channel, on a show about 9/11 -- why the towers fell, stories of survivors, the works. Now, what cable programming genius thought that *now* might be a great time to remind everyone, in case we have forgotten, of that terrible tragedy and everyone who died, and to bring back the horror in the pit of our stomachs at the waste, the loss, the devastation. Why, NOW is the perfect time, since we're eating up all the hurricane coverage. DAMN. Despite myself, and perhaps as planned by said programming genius, I found myself drawing similarities between the two events and the difference in the horror in the pit of my stomach. I remember the numbness I felt on 9/11 and the weeks following when it was still so fresh and sore, when it was still sinking in what had happened and how we as Americans would never again be able to fully bask in our false sense of security. The familiar feelings wash over me when I see images of post-apocalyptic N.O., and the displaced famillies with no food and water, and the frustrating rescue efforts, and all the news coverage, and I'm left wondering, now why is that journalist just standing there with a mike, next to two hungry, skinny babies, and *talking* about how much the conditions suck, and why isn't that journalist DOING SOMETHING since he's there and we aren't??? I'm marveling, along with the rest of the country, at how long it is taking the rescue efforts to get their shit together and HELP those people. I'm wondering why it is taking so long, when it seems everyone reacted faster and more effectively in the face of 9/11. But is that true, or have I simply forgotten the chaos from four years ago? Or, and I hesitate to even say this out loud, but i'm wondering if our country is, indeed, so numb at this point, after terrorists and tsunamis and war and destruction, that we simply aren't grasping this reality and are moving at a slower pace because we are paralyzed with helplessness. I don't know, but that thought really scares me. And if it's true? Our country is in more trouble than anyone even fathoms at this point. Because, people, although it is live on television, and we can watch it 24x7 from the comfort of our air-conditioned living rooms and in front of our flat-screen computer monitors, Dos Equis in hand, it is NOT just another episode of ER. This is REAL, there are no commercial breaks for the victims stuck on their roofs in the staggering heat, going on day 4 with no end in sight.
So about the only thing I feel I can personally do at this point is give money to the Red Cross, so I will do that and hope that it makes some kind of difference, however small. Please do the same if you are able. And let's collectively send good vibes to LA and MS and AL and FL and everyone else affected by Katrina, shall we? Go ahead, just do it.