Everybody around me is mourning, but not me.
Don’t get me wrong, as soon as I heard the news I reached for my cell phone and looked up a friend’s number to call him up, concerned. He takes the trains that have been bombed and I wanted to make sure he was OK. His number wasn’t on the SIM card I had on me, so we never did connect. I simply got lost in the images of horror EuroNews was serving up via Canadian satellite to my place of residence in the USA.
And there was consternation in me. Soon after sitting down to watch the news full-time my Dad came online from a few miles away of the attacks, and we spewed the kind of unkind words people in anger spew. The kind of words all my friends exchanged over public e-mail today. The kind of words reserved for people who deserve them, even if only the legal system should be the one trusted to inflict the punishment they are deserving of.
What interests me right now is my ambiguous reaction. Sure, I didn’t spend all day reading hateful accusatory e-mails. Sure, I didn’t think my day was going to be any different living so many miles away. Sure, I didn’t shed any tears which I never do when it comes to matters like these.
So of course I think I shouldn’t have to modify my behavior. Of course I feel threatened by what I am about to do by canceling my routine to go out and have fun on a Thursday night. Of course it feels like the terrorists have won if I do modify my behavior. Even if just for one night.
Already I’ve felt that fear when walking around crowded streets in Madrid last Christmas. The way claustrophobia hits you for a split second in a crowded elevator then disappears. Of course they’ve already won, if only for that split second last December. Why should they win one more night?
But the blogging therapy makes is really clear now: they haven’t won simply if I decide not to go out tonight. They’ve won if I speak less openly about my views. They’ve won if I keep growing more distanced from my birthplace due to their irresponsible behavior. They’ve won if I disrespect their victims by going out like it was just one more night.
So I’ll do what I do best: work though it. Not dwell in the details, lest it make me numb when the next one comes around, which surely it will. At this point I don’t even know who they are, but I’ll just make sure that doesn’t matter much by doing what I think makes the most sense.
If I can figure out what that is.
PS. Even the fact that these words are coming out in English is symptomatic, isn’t it?