Saturday, September 07, 2002

Ian (via comments), it's a mistake to assume that one has to be a New Yorker to feel the enormous pain of what happened there, or to be angry beyond words, or to feel real, nauseating fear.

There's a saying in rural areas of this place where I was born, that the worst sleep you get is near dawn, after the rooster's first crow, waiting for his second.

I'm in my homeland, Alabama, still angry, fearful, hopeless, hopeful, angry again, in some of the same ways that you are, and some different, no more or less valid or real. I made the move back here because no one knows what the future holds, and I don't ever, ever again want to be away from my amazing, beautiful, annoying, loving parents, as long as they live. I gave up an enormously lucrative job to return here, and I don't care one whit.

This time last year, I was living in Baltimore County, in quiet, bucolic horse country, and incidentally directly under the flight path usually connecting the White House, Camp David, and the "underground Pentagon" on the MD/PA border. I saw the military choppers flying overhead with the fighter jets circling above whenever George or his boys moved around betwixt them

My beloved baby brother has lived and worked in DC one block from the White House for several years now. He and I took the subway to Pentagon City the weekend after the attack, to take some flowers from my garden, a bit of rosemary for remembrance, to pray, and to see this horrific thing that we felt as humans and Americans it was not only our duty but dubious privilege to see, that we could share these awful but vital memories with each other and with our nieces and nephews.

It's painful Ian, I know, to see what you've seen, and to be where you've been. I'm sorry, I wish I could offer you real comfort. But everyone else, me, VodkaSteve, Lileks, whoever, has a different and just as important perspective... one of the worst things imaginable happened to the greatest city in the world, and to the symbols of the greatest of civilizations... and we are all on pins and needles fearing to see who gets bitten next. No one feels safe. No one can sleep. No one can leave for work in the morning without wondering if they or the baby they kiss good-bye that morning, or the dog whose ears they scratch, will be around for another caress the next day.

That's nothing to snark at. Please don't. It isn't fair.
Heh heh... how many of guys wish you were me?
Must apologize for my absence of late.

What with fighting the Alabama State of incompetency Unemployment not a trace of a System and all, I've had my hands full these past two weeks. Apparently the all-knowing taxpayer database had no record of my having worked or been paid for the past twelve months. Hm, where DID all those paychecks come from then?

I was laid off due to budget constraints on July 30th. I immediately filed for unemployment, received a letter two days later that I'd been denied, but that I could file an appeal, which I did, and which I was told would take two weeks to process. Fine, I thought, I've got some money in the bank and can squeeze by for a couple of weeks. The results of the appeal arrived. Another denial, because you see, I am a sluggabed, a sloth, the poster child for worthlessness, as viewed by the all-seeing, all-knowing eye of the Alabama State Database.

So, for the past two weeks, I've been at that office every single day, filling out forms, checking the status of my appeal (they do not have an apparatus in place which would allow a person to get this information on the phone), and generally harassing everyone in sight. Actually not harassing.... my manipulation methodology involves flirting and amusing people and getting them to tell me all their personal shit until I've got them eating out of my hand. In this case, not only did I get my appeal settled and approved this week, but the dude (alledgedly) in charge arranged to have my unemployment check term backed up a week, so that my 26 weeks will, according to their records, have started last week. It's all very confusing, and now I have a headache, but at least I've got an unemployment check coming next week.

My homestate. I'm just so proud to be here.