Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bittersweet dream at airport gate 712

I dreamed I was at the airport, maybe LAX, waiting for my flight to China. There was a long layover. The airport didn't really look like LAX (it didn't really look like any airport I've been to, but it was more European, maybe closest in style to Zurich) but Los Angeles would make sense as a stopover to China. I was either at gate 712, or the flight was scheduled to take off at 7:12 in the evening, or both.

艾恺 was there. I saw him wandering around, waiting for the same flight. We stopped and talked really briefly. I said, "you're back from China?"

He said, "no, I'm going." Liang Shuming was still alive, and 恺 was going to see him for some vaguely diplomatic reason. He told me what Liang had said about his meeting with President Obama, and how it differed in the extreme from Obama's press release about the meeting--and in short, it made Obama look bad. I think the upshot was that Liang was basically accusing Obama of aligning himself with corporations who had interest in China. I was really disappointed.

For some reason I told 恺 that I was going to Italy. Maybe because 恺 is Italian, or it just got all screwy in my head. Anyway, we parted, but when I discovered that we still had hours before the flight, I tried to find him again, to ask if we could just take a stroll and talk. I really needed to talk to someone, and I guess the dream was reminding me that I was lonely, and that I miss 恺 too, for reasons I can't entirely explain. I woke up feeling wistful.

Monday, May 17, 2010

See you at the bat clinic

Yes, I came home to a bat flying around the house. It scared my socks off, since it flew right at my head as I was coming up the stairs with a load of laundry. I'm quite accustomed to catching mice in a jar and taking them outside, but I've only caught one bat before this one, and it was asleep.

First I locked Harry up downstairs. I know he was chasing it, but I also think he was scared of it--he was acting weird. He's got his rabies jabs, so I guess he's okay. But I was sleeping with it in the house last night, and I don't have my rabies jabs.

So anyway, I got a towel wet and proceeded to go find it. It was large, and brown, and hiding between the bedspread on the guest bed and the wall. I had to pull the spread out slowly, and then quickly cover the thing in the towel. Then I was like, "what now?" It made all kinds of clicks. After I got the courage up, I scooped the towel into the bucket and closed it. Poor thing is probably dead already, if not from suffocation, then from shock. I feel terrible--bats eat bugs, after all!

Then I called animal control--maybe I should get it tested for rabies? I mean, just in case? Guy on phone very unhelpful. Looks like a call will have to be made tomorrow to Montague Health Department. Probably nothing to worry about--but I suppose I'm not quite ready to contract rabies and die.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I was zooming along 47 yesterday when I heard a very bizarre radio spot created by FEMA/The Ad Council, about being prepared for disasters. It had looming, frightening, movie music in the background, and a very serious young woman voicing-over an undefined threat.

What was the threat? There was no clue, except the music led me to believe that it could have been one of these: nuclear apocalypse; sun going into supernova (yes, I know this is scientifically inaccurate); giant meteor headed for earth; large scale terrorist biochemical attack; plants releasing spores that create mass suicides; zombie invasion. Now, the parting words were, quite seriously, "make a kit; have a plan." Now, I know there are zombie-invasion kits on the market, but there is no kit and no plan that will help you in a nuclear apocalypse. Just sayin.'

I suppose FEMA was really suggesting more of a major flood or earthquake scenario--but I still don't see a kit and a plan as helping much. Maybe if they were to eliminate the looming music, and say, "get the hell out of town when the authorities say 'evacuate,'" and then suggest that you stay calm and assist health care professionals in a Superdome-style event, that might make sense. I still think that no kit and plan is going to help you if a building collapses on your family. You have to wait for the rescue people to do their jobs.

I was in the Loma Prieta earthquake in '89, and I'm sorry to say that a kit and a plan would not have helped the people on the Bay Bridge. After Loma Prieta, my school asked for backpacks of non-perishable food and drink, for each of us. But where were the bags stored? Would we have had access to them?

Now, a kit and a plan might make a lot of sense in a house-fire. But they clearly weren't implying house-fire--they said, "major catastrophe." A kit and a plan for egress for all family members, and a neighboring house to meet makes a lot of sense. You know what else would make sense? A kit and a plan for getting lost at the County Fair. And once you find your family, and leave the County Fair, a kit and a plan for systematically finding your car also strikes me as useful.

I'm not diminishing the idea of staying calm and rational in the event of a major emergency (ie. a flood). But let's not assume that 15 minutes of planning now will help you much in a catastrophe. That house you were planning to meet at? Washed away. That cell phone? Batteries dead. Sometimes the best things you can do are to follow directions when they are given, do your best to help the people immediately around you, and hope everyone else is doing the same.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Longa rest

Music and the voices envelop you
a hurricane, swirling around an eye;
electrons buzzing around a nucleus.
My heart beating hard and fast,
I could see the pulse in my wrist.
I was elevated, I was lifted--
high with no chemicals at all.
I drew everything around you,
like an aura all around the space
in which you were standing,
and the picture is notable
by what it doesn’t contain.
There is a great yawning lacuna
where your portrait should be.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Fallen trees! Fires! Wires!

Yes, the title says it all. Driving home through Montague, there were sudden gusts and lightning bolts. Past the Bookmill came to a fallen tree and wires on fire. Turned around, drove back past Montague, and came across another BIG tree fallen across the whole road, wires entangled. Turned around, had to clear some big branches from the road, while two big falling trees were leaning precariously against another. Followed another guy on a backroad in Montague to Millers Falls. It was apocalypse freaky. House is okay, whew.