Thursday, July 07, 2005
OK You Got Me, I Admit It, I'm Scared
Well holy shit.
I had some really great material worked up and now it's all gone out the window. Terrorists in London have caused untold death and suffering among the people there and now on top of everything else, they pre-empted my solid-gold blogpost about airplane food and the differences between men and women, forcing me to talk about some dark, depressing shit instead. It's a step too far.
The thing that freaks me out the most about the London attacks is the possibility that they were carried out by suicide bombers. For some reason I can dismiss thoughts of weapons of mass destruction as so horribly unimaginable that they exist as vague concepts about which I can do nothing. If the bad guys set off an H-bomb in the garage next door, it's not like I would necessarily notice what with being instantly vaporized and all.
But suicide bombers, that's an idea that seems way too frighteningly personal and much, much too easily possible. When I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, we flew back home from a city with a large Arab population. Of course this means you're constantly surrounded with obnoxious American kids who look vaguely Arab in shopping malls rather than obnoxious American kids who look vaguely [whatever major local immigrant community lives near you]. But as you're waiting in the terminal for your plane to board, you start to look at the conservatively dressed college-age-and-older Arab men (you know, the ones without the backwards ball caps and the color and style of whose boxers are a mystery), the women in the hijabs, profiling. And then your mind starts working and you think "Hmm, if I were a wily terrorist, I wouldn't try to look like I just came from Central Casting, I'd try to blend in, be inconspicuous, like... that guy!" And then you realize you shouted "THAT GUY!" outloud and scared the shit out of 70-year-old Chinese man sitting next to you.
And then I feel better about myself because I realize that--like a good liberal--my fear isn't based on any particularly irrational response to the presence of a maligned racial minorty but rather out of a more general sense of how I am a complete and total pussy, race-non-specific.
All the time, of course, I had nothing to worry about because by the time we reached the gate, all of us had to pass through the crack team of infallible airport security screeners. There's something about putting your keys and your cellphone in that little bowl that just sets a guy's mind at ease.
I've been to London and spent several hours in total on the Underground. That memory plus today's events plus my already-established fear of and fixation on suicide bombers pretty much guarantees the programming for tonight's round of bed-shitting nightmares. As bad as it sounds, it will be a nice change from the giant man-eating crickets I've been getting lately. Even my therapist doesn't know what to do with that one.
Lastly, as if the terrorists hadn't done enough, this was an opportunity for us to make some progress between the American and British people. This is obviously a date that will live in infamy for them, much like 9/11 was for us and March 11 is for the people of Spain. For the British people, though, "9/11" doesn't mean "September 11", it means "November 9". See, they do their numerical shorthand day/month instead of month/day. In commemorating this date forever, the clash between cultures as we would bring it up and share with one another may have led to some kind of detente on this issue, where we English-speaking people might agree at last on one goddamn way to do things so everything doesn't have to be so needlessly confusing.
But then I started thinking about what day it was and I realized: it's the 7th day of July. It's 7/7.
PS- Here's what our President said in response to the news: "The war on terror goes on." Fuck you, Chimpy. This doesn't make you right about anything. The first Republican advocating some kind of policy or nomination who starts a sentence "What the attacks in London tell us..." gets wedgied.
UPDATE PPS- Almost forgot: I told you people so.