We've moved in.
Not to a new house. I mean into Afghanistan.
I found out around noon Sunday, just before Bush went on the airwaves to talk about our patriotism. I was living overseas during the Gulf War. I was in middle school (or maybe it was high school. I'm not always good with years) and we took it in stride. When we had bomb threats, we evacuated the school and sat patiently in the church across the street until we were called back to class.
In the mornings, before my dad went to work, he'd look under the Honda Civic to make sure nobody had placed a bomb there.
We became acclimated to the possibility of terrorism.
I wondered Sunday if this was what the Gulf War looked like to America. A sudden break in broadcast norm and then a return to normal.
If we were in a frothing fervor toward war a few weeks ago, we certainly got an anti-climax on Sunday. Everyone knew it was coming. When it did, a lot of people in Austin were still outside, playing frisbee golf and enjoying the great weather at the jazz festival at Auditorium Shores.
A few weeks ago, we were ready, marching toward
Now, we've settled for the first part of a less dramatic kind of action. We've started an attack in our
As soon as I heard about it, I made phone calls, called parents and friends, telling them to turn on the TV and see what was happening. Everyone was like, "Oh. Yeah. Okay."
And then back to daily life.
Not that I'm any different. I spend a good chunk of the day looking at houses (the search has narrowed. An acquisition may be imminent) and helping my friend Josefina move.
We were lugging lots of boxes, a little bit of furniture and even potted plants into a U-Haul. When it was all over, I helped make one last check in the house for missing items. There was this living room that I'd never seemed empty before. I remembered parties thrown there, cups of coffee, arguments, the sometimes-annual Day of the Dead celebration and just how that room had always seemed full of life and much larger than this small, empty space with blue carpet. This was a room that suddenly looked anonymous, where before it had seemed to bulge with personality.
I wondered what my own duplex will look like in another month or two. If everything will seem smaller once all my things are gone. If all the spaces and doors and special corners and the place where I put my feet on the floor when I write into the night, if all those places will just be dead space again, with no meaning or psychic fingerprint. It's insane to get sentimental about a little bit of carpet, wood and concrete, but memories happen where we build them, and they will always be lit in our mind with those same cheap light fixtures, with the shadows on the dull, painted walls.
People are moving around a bit. A few people I work with are taking jobs elsewhere. They're not all people I was particularly close to, but some of them were folks I respected, people I knew I could go to for an answer to a question (like say, what year the Astrodome was built).
Other friends are moving to new homes (like Josefina), or having babies soon (Michelle in Oklahoma) or leaving home (Tracy). I'm moving to a new place, taking on home ownership and a new job (still can't say what it is yet, sorry) that I'm excited about. My brother's working on his last year of high school.
And we're at war. Don't forget that.
It's big changes, seismic movement. So much of the last months have been minutae. Every life change after Sept. 11 seems momentus in comparison.
I think we've all just realized how little time we have. And how much of what we have of it means to us.
I didn't want to mention this until later, but Terribly Happy is turning one year old this month. Oct. 25, to be exact. I'm going to be traveling to Chicago this week for Journalcon, and what with war breaking out, I don't know what work will be like for the next little while.
But I do want to do something special. So I'll work on that.
Here's some things for you to read. I wrote about being an OU fan in Texas on Saturday. And on Sunday, I had my first A1 story in the Sunday paper. It took forever to get that story in the paper and I'm happy with the way it turned out (even though the online version doesn't have the cool explainer-illustration/graphic that ran with the newspaper story).
Next week, I take on my new regular gig: Recapping Smallville on the WB. That debuts Oct. 16.
So be patient with me the next few weeks. I'll be updating sporadically, but I hope to have something really good for you in time for that anniversary.
Hey, look at this! Stuff to buy! Haaawwwt-Damn!
The Casio MX-3293. Experience the latest in one-key samba drum loops.