Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Let's pretend, indeed.
Funny thing about the human mind. When confronted with events and extreme stressors, it looks for a normal status, and fixates on that.
When the 9-11 attacks unfolded before my eyes in 2001, and my sense of safety evaporated in the crash of the first plane, then the next and the third and fourth and the collapse of the first World Trade Center tower and then the next, my brain chose the moment to find a task as far away from reality as it could go.
So what did I do? I took apart the 90 year old sash windows in our bedroom and found some sash cord and I replaced the old rotted cords.
Our cleaning lady was at the house that day, and when I asked if she wanted to go home, she said that she felt it was better to keep working. My husband came home and felt that the yard needed cut. The sense of security in our nation had gone up in smoke and we found solace in going through the range of motions of the familiar.
Last night, that feeling of helplessness overcame us again. Watching the rioting start - and it by no means was near of a catastrophe of the 9-11 attacks, nor was it as big and deadly as the Los Angeles riots of 1992 - and then the feeling of helplessness as we watched TV, it rekindled a lot of the same angst and stress of 2001.
For a couple hours, I walked in the shoes of my parents, feeling the same fears and uncertainties that they felt as Cleveland was rocked by riots in its Hough neighborhood, and then the Glenville riots of 1968.
Today my chest is tight, and my hopes are for a quiet quiet night. At the same time, the events of last night - the riots, the fires, the gunshots, have delivered uncertainty. The husband's place of business - two mid rise towers on the inner harbour are closed today and tomorrow. The Orioles are playing ball tonight in Camden Yard, but the stadium will be off limits to baseball fans. I have been called off work for tomorrow. Two malls are closed and many stores are closing early. But the birds are still singing and the sun still shines. Things are off-balance, but they will hopefully get back to something approaching normal.
So, we still wonder what tonight will bring, if anything.
And me? Well we no longer own that house with the wooden windows, so I can't struggle with sashes and fix pulleys and replace cords and wrestle with sashes. This new old house has vinyl replacement windows, so there is no escape or outlet for my angst.
I'll just have to get through it, and pretend, just for tonight, that its all so far away.