they're coming to get you, barbara......*
This is how my morning writing goes: I have no idea what I'm going to write about until I check my mail, look at the news sites and take a short trip through my favorite blogs, starting with Lileks. Usually by that point, some idea has inched its way into my brain and the cogs, greased up by caffeine, slowly begin their turn. I fine tune the idea in the shower and by 6am or so, I'm ready to write.
Some days, like today, there's an idea that comes ahead of time. I knew when I went to bed last night that I was going to write something about New York City in August and how my mother calls me every day to beg me to change my mind about going to the convention. I don't know if she's worried about protesters or a terrorist attack, but I have a feeling it's a combination of both.
There were several links in my email this morning - plus some that were hanging around in my "blog this soon" checklist" that sort of changed the course of this morning's topic.
Is the deployment surge just an exercise?
Intelligence briefing on Al Qaeda threat
The coming strike on America
Al Qaeda has nukes inside the U.S.
(the last three from Allah)
Wild in the streets - and follow up
So a few of those links are suspect. But it's not like I wasn't thinking those things anyhow.
Let's face it, I'm a what my mother calls a Nervous Nelly. My nervousness has just been more pronounced since 9/11. I'm also - again, my mother's phrasing - a Worry Wart. So let's just say the above links don't make me feel any better about the near future.
Like Likeks, I have a bug-out box. It's not as comprehensive as his; it just contains some basic medical supplies, a small radio, a flashlight and batteries. If I actually put together a box of the things I need In Case of Emergency, it would be too big to lug around. I'm a pack rat, even when it comes to emergency supplies.
When I was a small child, I used to hide canned foods under my bed, just in case the Russians came or aliens landed. I'd at least be able to eat some cold beans and corn while I waited to die. Dying at the hands of the commies would certainly be better than starving to death, no?
Reading through the links about nukes, I realize the futility of packing emergency supplies. But what if it's not nukes, but some other nefarious scheme by terrorists? What if we all have to evacuate? Lileks is headed for Fargo. I'm headed for....death.
I live on an island. What was the first course of action when those planes hit the towers? They closed the bridges and tunnels. Nobody in, nobody out of New York City. I imagine they would do the same thing should another attack occur. There is nowhere for me to go, unless I buy a boat just In Case of Emergency. Then we can set sail for Connecticut or Jersey. Yea, that's where I want to die.
Oh, it's not just terrorism. There's meteor crashes, tidal waves, earthquakes and asteroids. All those things the typical suburbanite worries about. No? It's just us Nervous Nellies.
We're an odd bunch, we paranoid worriers. We have an innate Spidey sense. We're known to say things like something's not right, I can feel it in the air. But I wonder if 9/11 sharpened our Spidey sense or if it made it go haywire. Because it seems to go off a lot these days. I spend whole afternoons and long, sleepless nights trying to get my tingling nerves to calm down.
My mother calls last night.
Are you still going?
Yes mom. I'm going.
I wish you would just stay home.
I know. But when have I ever done anything you wanted me to?
She sighs. It's the same conversation we have every day.
There's going to be trouble there.
Well, that's part of the reason I'm going, mom. I want to cover whatever trouble breaks out.
You'll get hurt. You might get killed.
They're protesters, mom. Not terrorists.
Despite all my worrying about impending nuclear war, tsunamis, alien invasions, bloody riots, Armageddon and terrorism, I keep a certain phrase on repeat in my head: There's nothing I can do about it. I'm not Superman; I can't turn back a tidal wave with the flick of my wrist. I can't deflect a nuclear warhead into the far reaches of outer space. So I go about my life. I just tend to look over my shoulder a lot. I prepare in the small ways I can. Flashlights, batteries, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a few Xanax, for that In Case of Emergency, Pass Out and Sleep Through Armageddon way of dealing with things. Yea, I know that part isn't in the handbook, but I don't like the handbook.
I suppose there are a thousand handbooks out there, one for every type of paranoia. Some call for duct tape and plastic sheeting. Some call for you to make a cardboard sign, stand on the corner and tell people to repent. We each deal with the specter of the end in our own way.
Ready New York supplies their own list. They call it a Go Bag. I call it a False Hope bag. Where the thoughts of my paranoia lead, no one is going to need an ATM card or comfortable shoes. You'll either be annihilated in less time than it takes to notice the sudden flash in the sky, or you'll be throwing bricks through windows of liquor stores, as everyone takes my advice to welcome the age of no vegetation, poisoned waters and glow-in-the-dark skin in a drunken stupor. Sure, maybe you can plot the fastest route to an unaffected, rural community that was spared the reaches of the blast or the aliens or the earthquake, but I've got nowhere to go. The bridges and tunnels are closed and I never did buy that boat.
And this is why I'm not so worried about the activists, at least on a personal level. Whatever havoc they create, whatever mayhem ensues, I have the ability to stay away from it. I can choose to stay inside MSG and cover the more mundane aspects of the convention. I can watch the bloody festivities from Faith's apartment, where I'll be staying. There are things I actually can do something about, and this is one of them. You guys go ahead and have your fun. Throw your marbles, or whatever you anarchists are planning. You go right ahead and bait the police into turning the tear gas on you. I've made the decision to avoid you and your puppet shows. I've got better things to worry about then getting hit on the head with a brick meant for Starbucks.
There's freak weather, hijacked planes, invisible gasses, plagues, zombies and aliens who do not die when splashed with water do worry about. I've got cans of beans to stock up on and bug-out boxes to pack. I think you should drop what you're doing and follow me. This Jack Daniels ain't going to drink itself, you know.
Underneath this cool exterior, where I joke about zombies and tsunamis, lies a very troubled Nervous Nelly. But I can't do anything about those things that worry me most, so I just trust that the people who can do something about it do it to the best of their ability. That may not be enough, of course. Sometimes the unexpected happens. And then you just look to the sky and think about repenting. I'll be damned if I'm going to go out at the hands of some wannabe hippie who smashes my head instead of smashing the state. But if a chain of events should occur that has that scenario playing out, my last words will be, 1968. I told you so.
I guess I'll call my mother and tell her I promise to stay inside the whole time I'm there. She's one of those Nervous Nelly types.
And I totally forgot what the topic I wanted to write about was.