Denning Instinct

19 September 2001

Kathy is 50! Yay, Kathy!

Well, it's a good thing I don't run Microsoft Outlook, and it's a good thing Timprov didn't go to Neil Gaiman's American Gods website. Because that site has been infected with the Nimba virus, which my computer couldn't run without Outlook. Scary stuff. It ate much of my mom's company's system yesterday. I admit to a bit of frustration that it has gotten no more coverage than it has -- it was in the middle of the business section in today's Merc. But the news that "stars" are putting on a telethon for victims Friday night was front page news.

I don't want to tell people not to grieve -- especially not people who feel more connected to New York than I do. But I do think that news that affects our lives directly and immediately should receive higher priority coverage than it's gotten. It was way, way behind stories like "Suspect's father says he's innocent" and the ever-popular telethon line-up.

I've been having discussions about how much is wallowing and how much is normal, appropriate grief with more than one of my friends. I just don't know. It makes me remember the tornado, honestly. After the tornado, I wanted to get all of my friends together and just huddle together for awhile and do friend things until the outside world had learned to behave itself. I was glued to whatever news we could get about St. Pete and the college and how everything was. I would have watched the kind of days-long coverage they've been showing here. So I don't fault people who feel more connected to New York especially.

And, as with the tornado, it sounds like a lot of people are scared of things other than what I'm scared of. Sounds like some people are scared of further hijackings. And at Gustavus, a lot of people were scared of another tornado. I know, I know, it's not the same thing -- there was no volition behind the tornado. (I don't believe in that kind of God, folks.) But I do think that it's safer to fly now than just about any other time. We've got increased security now. We're expecting it now.

When I wanted to bring my friends together after the tornado, I thought it was because I wanted to make sure that they were all okay and safe. I intellectually knew it, but I wanted to put my hands on them and be able to know for sure. Now I know it's that I wanted to make them okay and safe. I wanted to protect the people I love against the outside world. We joke sometimes about me being the proto-mommy, but I am -- I do have that urge to protect people and give them bars and reassure them and keep the nasty world away. Can't do that. Shouldn't try. But oh, how I want to.

It's not really terrorism or outside forces I'm afraid of right now. I'm afraid of what the government and private citizens will do to other people in this country. For example, the Merc this morning says that there has been proposed legislation "allowing the US attorney general to lock up immigrants deemed to be terrorist suspects or financial contributors to terrorists, and to order them deported without presenting any evidence. The only chance for an appeal would occur when a suspect was facing removal from the country, according to the draft." This applies to permanent legal residents as well as to visitors. Just -- suspecting them. They could be kept locked up indefinitely, as long as they weren't supposed to be deported. Is that supposed to make anybody feel better? Do I feel safer and more warm and fuzzy about my country because it has the power to do this? What do you think? Do I sound comforted and happy about it?

Well. In the meantime, I'm reading Juniper Time and working. It's what I can do. Yesterday Timprov and I talked about our projects, what we've got to work on and what we're thinking about working on. And except for the collabs, everything looks slight compared to the Not the Moose Book. It's clearly the most important project ahead of me in the near future. But that's intimidating in itself, and I'm going to want to write some short stories in the time frame while I'm working on this book. So. Well. More research, more work. More working through it.

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