My nine-year old daughter’s alarm clock is set to go off 15 minutes before mine. She’s on a year-round schedule, so school started for her this last Wednesday. It’s been hot lately. I almost didn’t believe Summer was going to happen, and then it did, with fury. June turned into July and we ended up with an 11-day heatwave of record-breaking temperatures. Triple-digit Fahrenheit. We try not to use air-conditioning this year; money’s a little precious. It’s been intense. I like it.
6:45 this morning, I put my robe on, set the coffee on. Put the NPR on. I like to wake up with the news. After two minutes of bleary-eyed contemplation, it dawned on me that something significantly awful happened today. The radio told me there was a gunman, double-digit death toll, many wounded. Fucking Colorado.
I turned the radio off, but the news kept filtering in, from other radios, from televisions, from talking about it, just a little bit, all day.
There are some days that I remember, when the news was particularly bad. I remember the morning I spent obsessively reading about the man who came to the Amish school in Pennsylvania, who methodically separated out the little girls from the little boys, who tied up the little girls in a line near the chalkboard inside the schoolhouse, who let the little boys go, and who shot the little girls, all tied up in a line, in Pennsylvania.
I remember the night I stayed up late with my college boyfriend, who became my young-adult husband, who became the father of my children, who became my ex-husband, who became my friend, who subscribed to the New York Times and I had never read the New York Times before. We lived in Berkeley, and we had been tripping balls overnight on the things that college kids do, and when the sun was coming up, I went outside in front of our apartment building, and I picked up our newspaper. I watched the sky pinken from black as I read about the terrorist bombings on U.S. embassies in Africa. I remember that day, I remember that morning.
And I remember September 11, 2001, in my own little way.
I’m tired of remembering the days that the news was so bad that it made me sick.
My first thought this morning was, “Those people who made that Batman movie are so fucked with bad luck.”
We were going to go to the movies today, Ronny and I. I unabashedly like Batman. I will throw down for Batman over Superman any day of the week, and I also like the coldness of a movie theater with air-conditioning on a July day in North Carolina when everyone else is at work. But we ran errands today instead. We did not want to do the movies today.
There was the bank and the post office, and the pharmacy, and the other pharmacy in Pittsboro, and driving through the country, talking, dreaming, and believing the things that we believe in. We ran errands today instead. The radio was sometimes on. I heard the disbelief in their voices. It is senseless. It is SENSELESS. It really is, senseless.
These things have always happened, people hurting other people in really severe, spectacular, permanent ways. They are always devastating. I am reminded of that again, traveling up the green hills and down again, in a car, traveling, moving forward, going forth.