I was reminded today, as it is the premiere of the second Harry Potter movie, that exactly one year ago I left for a cross-country drive to see my dad for Thanksgiving in Napa Valley (after seeing a 10am matinee of the first movie). It was a drive fraught with AM radio (as I had nothing else), containing the worst opinions of right-wing nutsos on talk shows, and their slightly-more disturbing callers, phoning in to wax racist about the “towelheads” that had recently imploded the World Trade Center. It was that kind of trip, through the fallow, brown cornfields of Nebraska and dead desert of Nevada, where you truly get the scope of America, and how beautiful and awful it is at once.
A year later and not a thing has changed: still a band of monkeys running the White House, stark warnings from the FBI about the likelihood of another attack, and a cold winter brewing depression for anyone enamored of the sun. The only thing I can hope for this winter is to avoid another descent into madness, staved off partly by pills, partly by therapy, and mostly by exhaustion.
It’s just that I don’t know how much longer this country can do this dance: shots fired at our feet by a government that knows only how to peddle fear to make us complacent, and a band of terrorists who make daily threats against anyone siding with America. This dance, I suppose, will last until the next big terrorist spectacle, after which there might be a spot of relief to those who survived it: a lot like what Liz said about Washington during the sniper spree. Apparently, there was a rush on gas, grocery and shopping every time there was a shooting, because they knew the sniper would be laying low for a day or two.
It’s a pathetic way to live, one that makes me want to be a farmer. The truth of this era seems to be this: whatever you worry might happen, the actual outcome will be worse, but somehow more interesting.
Thanksgiving 2001 in St. Helena, CA everyone in this picture is speaking at the same time; I have “depression sideburns”