Thursday, September 11, 2008

Three Hours

It was the same damn sky. I left the driveway in my car as a fusion of Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World came on the satellite radio. The overall effect of high blue and a gentle warble atop the ukulele should've inspired something like contentment, but instead I listened closely to the lyrics for a meaning I could relate to. It was right there. I didn't have to wait long. The wonderful world over the rainbow is a dream.

Before I got into the car I watched a ceremony and fed the baby. Then I drove to book club, where a group of us sat for two hours discussing things like organic food, the ubiquitousness of corn, and too many roosters in my friend's coop. Afterward I tooled over to the gas station to put $55 onto my credit card for transmittal to the Gulf.

Soon after my day began--at home, while the baby ate, at ten till nine--a young woman was reading the As on the alphabetical list of victims from the Twin Towers. Z did not come till I returned home, ten minutes shy of noon. In the car and at book club and next to the pump, there was a soundtrack of names I couldn't hear being mic'd over a chasm.

Three hours. With all the motions, emotions, and thoughts (about the day-to-day, but also about things less grounded) inherent in that span, I was able to contextualize in time the meaning of 2,751.

It was 180 minutes of living in the time it took to read the names of the dead.

That was the Twin Towers alone. Add Shanksville. Add the Pentagon. Then Afghanistan and Iraq. Each name buys me time that--at any given moment--I don't even realize is being paid for. But then I stop to think. And when the world doesn't stop with me, I start to understand.

There are not enough hours in the day. There are never enough hours in the day.

5 comments:

toyfoto said...

Powerful.

jen said...

no words.

zellmer said...

amen

Anonymous said...

wow, just...wow

Sus said...

great post. that song always makes me nostalgic - it's got such a bittersweet lilt to it. perfect to have in the back of my head as i read this. have you read three cups of tea? will change your perspective on the afganistan/pakistan region forever.