Day 54 of the Scattered Emotions Over a Mackerel Sky Road Trip of Our Coats of Many Colors
Chapel Hill, NC
First, the good news: apparently I am made of such stuff that actually does get nauseous – for 24 straight hours – from half a Cuban cigar. I woke up fine, which is cool because I don’t have the Norwalk Virus or anything, but is uncool because apparently I now have to cross off one of the Simple Joys of Being an Elder Man. I always thought I’d eventually take up cigars, and fetishize them like subscribers to Cigar Aficionado Magazine and have a walk-in humidor and all that. Clearly, cigars have joined Rumplemintz shots on the list of Shit I Can’t Do No Mo’.
Secondly (which apparently isn’t a word): I scanned several pages of my baby book while at my mom’s place in Mt. View, and one of them dealt with the issues of the day, you know, what the country’s zeitgeist was while I was being born. It being 1967, she mentioned mini skirts, paisley and sticky tape.
detail from the baby book
So I thought I’d share another kind of sticky tape for Zeitgeist 2003; namely, the batches of the shit being bought by Americans trying to protect their houses from chemical or radiological terrorism. There has been a run on plastic sheets, batteries, water and flashlights around the country over the last few days, which would be really depressing if we weren’t so beleagueredly used to it by now.
I saw a local news report tonight of a woman in a army surplus store buying gas masks for her family; the 3-year-old took the pacifier out of her mouth, tried on a mask and yelped “I want this one, mommy!” Then, of course, the requisite shot of a kook in Virginia who has cloaked the entire outside of his house in plastic painter’s sheeting, exclaiming, “I gotta do something with all this anxiety, man!”
Frankly, the problem with all this talk is that it is ultimately unsustainable with other “hunkering down” situations like a hurricane, we have a weather report, radar, and a good estimation of when it will hit, and how long it will last. The shit we’re wading though now, however, has the ineffable quality of dreams, the ungraspable horizon of paragraphs without periods.
Besides, anyone who has done any research on the subject knows that short of an actual nuclear weapon (highly unlikely), the next terrorist attack will only kill the unlucky sots who happen to be on that train, in that mall, at that sporting event, or through Times Square that afternoon. The rest is all anxiety, hearsay, speculation on the internet, and endless stories about how you were right in that spot two weeks ago.
Tessa says that the Bush Administration issues these warnings and tries to couple Iraq with Al-Qaeda for one purpose: the instillation of fear silences questioning, and the lack of questioning feeds their power. It’s hard for me to even venture a guess at the inner workings of the intelligence community; I think it’s really just a litmus test for your own cynicism. Believe what you want to believe. But I do feel sorry for new mothers, writing in their baby books today about the zeitgeist of America during their child’s infancy. I hope all this crap including entries like today’s blog