I have my obsessions, things that concern or interest me and the way I absorb information and sort out my feelings is, apparently, to fling myself headlong into whatever is pulling at me.
It's also been a very strange summer, especially for the last month. I left one of the most miserable jobs I had ever been in just before my wedding anniversary on the 30th. I had been distracting myself with daydreams of New Orleans to try and get through that job, because it was one of the few clear visions of joy I had. I was pining especially intensely because I knew I couldn't go this year, money and time not permitting. My job situation changed shortly before the end of the month, as I was able to get out of the job, and was hired on at someplace FAR FAR better.
In the small span of time that my job switch took place, Katrina threatened and hit.
I was remembering the last two years when I had visited the city for our honeymoon and anniversary. I remembered the growing feeling that this was a place I belonged, although when I didn't know.
Then as the disaster crawled on, I had the worst sinking feeling in my stomach. Days crawled on to September 11th, when 4 years before I had also been glued to the TV, filled with that same sinking feeling. The sadness and fear was overwhelming at that time. Perhaps I was also playing too much VNV Nation, but I didn't know how else to deal with the situation.
I was also at a job I didn't like at the time, and desperately needed a vacation. We had plane tickets for the 13th. Needless to say we didn't fly. I wanted my vacation, I wasn't going to give it up. I needed some sense of joy, something to give me a new perspective on a crappy situation.
We drove 15 hours to New Orleans, and arrived on I-10 during the night.
I spent a week last year at this time, wandering the streets of one of the most fascinating places I had ever been. One of my most immediate memories was the silence in the air because of the lack of planes. The Quarter was quiet as tourists were scarce. There was a man in the middle of one of the streets, playing amazing grace on a harmonica - one of the most haunting sounds I have ever heard.
I think of it again now - on the four year anniversary of a major tragedy, coupled with a second tragedy associated with that memory.
I'm not sure how to feel. Besides sad.
I know that I am not a resident of New Orleans, I know that I am safe in my home, I have my family intact, and my friends, a job, and a roof over my head. I am lucky.
That doesn't keep me from mourning a place I was getting to know in more detail every time.
I know the feeling of a pull to a place where you are supposed to be. It happened with Chicago before - and look where I ended up.
I know I will end up there. The question is when, and the answer is definitely not soon, but also not far off.
Perhaps I have tapped into the community sorrow - with the amount of emotion fliying around, TV on or not, it's hard to escape for someone like me.
I have payed as much attention to this disaster as I would had Cleveland if it had been suffering from some kind of disaster.
I'm only 29. These events are to me like what WWII would have been to someone decades ago, or those alive at the sinking of the titanic - something you never fucking forget and into your senior years will be able to describe in more painful detail than the morning's breakfast.
I'm at a loss here. How does one cope with seeing so many people suffering? You can donate, but that doesn't seem like enough. You can pray, but sometimes that doesn't seem like enough.
I do my best to remember as clear as I can the streets as they were, the people we met. Positive thoughts are supposed to attract positive actions, so if wishful thinking were ever going to do its job, I hope I'm contributing somewhat.
I hope that those who lived in the afflicted areas who have decided not to return find a better life, althoughI must say I worry about them, especially those who were already suffering financially. This country has such a class gap, and depending on what city you go to, it can become much more evident. Chicago is a pretty expensive place to be, and let's face it, even with as much racial diversity evident in the streets, it's still a segregated city. Cleveland is as well.
I sincerely hope that these displaced people will not be flung into the same situation in another city, that's all I'm trying to say.
So I'm addicted to crisis TV. At worst, it makes me sad. At best, it puts things into perspective.
I just want things to get better for everyone concerned so I can stop listening to Rita Cosby's voice.