a white picket fence

When 9-11 happened I couldn’t wrap my brain around. I watched the news coverage non-stop. It consumed all my hours that weren’t consumed with working. I was obsessed and the media’s obsession only fueled it. A friend’s brother was sadly lost that day and it took me a year and a half to cry about it.

When the tsunami hit, I immediately gave money to the redcross and put a button up on this page. I can’t give much. I wish I could give millions. But, the tradegy was distanced because it was not my country. I felt for them, but I also felt like it didin't directly impact me. The distance was almost comfortable.

When Katrina hit, I felt for the victims. I know a little bit about what it’s like to be stranded without water and electricity, but I have no idea what they are going through. I have a glimpse of what it feels like to not know what is happening for an extended time period, to have the uncertainty of when life will return to normal. Not having control is one of the worst feelings you can have. It’s maybe even worse than losing everything you own.

Unlike 9-11, I’ve teared up a lot about Katrina. Only the 24-hour news stations are obsessed with this disaster and this time I am not obsessed. Instead, I feel guilty. I feel like I can’t watch a regular program or movie without checking back in to see the progress or lack of progress down south. And I feel helpless because I have so much right now. Just going to the bathroom, getting ice from the fridge, turning on the TV, it’s all a luxury and the disparity is happening in my own country. And that’s what I can’t wrap my brain around. I still can’t fathom what they feel. What are the children thinking?

The weather here has turned to fall quicker than it normally does. It's beautiful and crisp and little bit surreal because I've been feeling that life is just flowing, just going along it normal route, but then gas prices are soring as I drive down the street and I realize that life is not just flowing, that life in my own country is miserable for others right now. What makes this different from the poor and homeles who exist without a natural disaster? The magnitude, the magnitude of people who have been stripped from their American Dreams, from their own white picket fences. And all I can really offer is a small donation to the redcross, an offer of my spare room on craigslist, a promise to help with www.lifelist.us, and talking about it, thinking about the people I don't know who are in pain, emotionally.

If I could, I would run down there, not to do anything else than to read to the children. I wish I could go there and just give out hugs and listen to them. I’m sure there are words that need to be spoken and I’m sure there are not enough people to listen. And I ache that I never visited New Orleans before this. I wish I could have loved that city, just a little bit before it was irrevocably changed.

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