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Berkeley Solano Stroll

September 14th, 2001

Clean This Up
Friday. No DSL and no email until this evening, when I brought a laptop home with me from work. I have a call in to have them look at the line, but I suspect it will take longer to fix than I care to think about. It has been a crappy week, has it not? They capped it today by firing the entire security section at my company, a fitting way to focus our attention for the weekend. Onward! With fervor! Through the fog.

Every conversation, every television and radio program, even the background noise, talks of September 11th. Talking and listening and reading have made me tired and want to crawl into bed. Too many stories about too many brave people, all of whom are dead. Too many stories about too many fools who are alive and using this to their profit.

In the middle of this, by the way, to switch to the banal, I found an apartment that seems nice for about the same money I'm paying here, an additional $30 a month. My rental service finally believed me when I said, after looking at ugly, albeit freshly painted boxes at an additional $300 and more a month, that I didn't want to spend any more money than I was and I still wanted to live like a human being. The new apartment is located just down the way, maybe a hundred yards from Lake Merritt, about half again closer to the Grand Lake Theater area than I live now.

I can still walk to work, although I'll probably crap out and take the bus, and I can now walk more easily to my cafe on weekends for breakfast. This is good. I think this is good. (It's hard to tell when you're moving. Moving makes me crazy.) I picked up the keys today after work. They were willing to take a cat. There were no discussions about peeing and throwing up. I have not yet informed Mr. Wuss. I'm not really sure I've quite yet informed myself, although I believe I'm beginning to get the hint, what with the keys and everything.

Saturday, late afternoon. I've been listening to a program on biological weapons and how they work. How the Russians hadBerkeley Solano Stroll a program underway in 1992 with 60,000 people producing smallpox and anthrax and other diseases (I can't spell) by the ton. By the ton. Most of the scientists in this program were left without an income after the fall of the Soviet Union and many of them went to work for Iraq and Iran, supporters of Mr. bin Laden and his network of terrorists. (Less so Iran, but Iraq, certainly, is the likely suspect at the moment in providing bin Laden with support.) I don't need to listen to this stuff. No, I need to listen to this stuff, I just don't want to listen to this stuff. Last week was enough. Next week may be too much.

(Note added on 10-09-03) Interesting to read this two years later. Iraq and bin Laden were antagonists, the CIA certainly believing there was no connection other than an adversarial one between al Qaeda and Iraq. You hear something, you write it down, you learn later (not all that much later) you were an idiot. "...but Iraq, certainly, is the likely suspect at the moment in providing bin Laden with support." I said it with a lot confidence from the sound. Beware of idiots, we abound.

Better to shoot pictures and make prints, take it easy today and tomorrow, get ready for reality, whatever it is, whenever it comes, but later, please, later. One of the people in the interview (this was on public radio) said the question was not "if" a biological weapon would be used, but "when". "When" a biological weapon is used here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And, if this guy is correct, the home of the heavily armed, the very crazy and the really pissed. God help us.

I guess the worst fears come at the beginning, a mixture of shock and sadness. I'm worried it will be simplistically managed, that it is being simplistically managed right now in Washington, and that it will get out of control. We have something like seven million Muslims in the United States, all but a small handful horrified by September 11th. Let us not make them enemies, they are our countrymen, let us hold them with respect and allow them to lead us to any crazies in their (our) midst. Because they will. Just as Japanese Americans would have done in World War II if we hadn't put them in "camps", while avaricious fools stripped them of every thing they'd ever owned in the name of patriotism and a buck.

I'm rambling here. Part of me finds this fascinating - like a big budget movie, how will it turn out? - part of me retches with horror. (And, maybe, fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of growing old(er), fear of the dark, fear of the day, fear of that which cannot be named. Fears we share. Fears that can turn us into monsters and into saints.) Rambling, you see. Odd and unnecessary thoughts. One day I'll come back, maybe, and clean this up.

The photographs were taken at Berkeley's Solano Stroll.