List of things done this morning:
Dreamt strange things. My sister was involved. Again
Exercised while watching a re-run of Oprah
Watched 15 minutes of an Unsolved Mysteries, circa 1992, on Lifetime, about the Unibomber and the Zodiac Killer while brushing teeth
Has it really been ten years since Ted Kaczynski? It’s been a long time since a lot of things, hasn’t it? Who knew the Zodiac Killer started his killing spree in the 60’s? Who knew that Kaczynski and the Zodiac Killer were, at one time, thought to be the same person? Not me. How much of my young life I am finally starting to understand some 15 years later? How much went on around me as a child that I can only now put into context?
I listened to a program on NPR last night about the conflict in the Middle East. When hostages were taken in Iran and planes being blown up and cities being carpet bombed… how could I have known what to do with this information? I am having it all re-explained to me now, as an adult, via television programs and radio broadcasts, interviews with historians and professors, retrospectives, books, articles…
Growing up while the Berlin Wall came down and planes were downed over Scotland… these events were like people. They were players whose nervous ticks and habits and missing limbs and appearances in my life other adults would explain away with cryptic assurances and smiles that indicated I would “understand when I was older”. Now that I am older, I see what those assurances and simple answers were trying to protect me from.
It is amazing to have lived for so long without awareness. Not that anyone, including myself, was expecting a young girl to absorb the historical significance of anything, let alone remember what was for dinner in 1983. How incredible it is to be alive in the aftermath- to have survived to tell about anything, to have a story to tell to children that starts with “I remember when…” How amazing to be able to see history through. To remember when the Target on Mountain Avenue was a grove of trees. To remember when so-an-so was the president of Israel, of the US, of Chile. How amazing to have so much informational schrapnel flying around me as a child and to not get hit by a single piece.
Only now, as I brush my teeth with a toothbrush that does the work for me (the technology that guides it probably being developed as I breathlessly directed 3/4 of a yellow pie chart through a digital maze to gobble up white pellets in 1984) can I understand what it meant to die and how that “weird thing that Nanny did” was actually battle colon cancer, and that people were dying in international conflicts and from bombs in brown paper bags all around me ALL the time. Now things like “Iran-Contra Scandal” and “Unibomber” own their rightful definitions in my head. They aren’t vague soundbytes and snapshots.
And when will I understand all that is happening around me now? In another 15 years? I want to call the White House and tell them not to make any decisions today, tomorrow, or next year. I want them to sit on things, for, say, 15 years or so, and see if they reach better decisions then. I want them to tune in to the History Channel and watch the bit about the landing on the moon, or the assasination of Kennedy, or something about the Panama Canal, or the acquisition of Hawaii, and I want them to think about when that became REAL for them. When the schrapnel of their youths finally caught up to them and they realized that history had been happening all around them the whole time.