Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quake



Little else matters now. With one sudden jolt, forget about who said what. Who cares about the late night TV wars or hyper insensitive language? Fantasy film worlds in 3-D are nice but not now. No ballgame matters, I can't think about what's for dinner, there are no feel good stories at the moment.
Earthquakes can do that. I've been through a few. The Loma Prieta quake was like any of the many I'd previously experienced. Since that day in 1989, I'm never without too many water bottles or packages of batteries from AAA to D. I have a cell phone now, a couple of portable radios, and always, some gas in the truck. Earthquakes will do that.
The collage of words and terminology begins to take shape. Tembler, epicenter, 7.1, infrastructure. Pancaked, rubble, aftershock, victims.
If things happen for a reason, what are we to think about Haiti. If I were living there in normal times, I could expect to die next year. Poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; check the tags on your clothing. It's where most of the baseballs in the big leagues are made. Really.
Give wisely. Hucksters thrive on the temporary anarchy that accompanies any tragedy. Oxfam had 200 people on the ground there in the first few hours. Can't go wrong there.
I wonder about the impact of people helping one another. Could that be a reason, if there has to be one?
Does it become difficult to recruit terrorists when so many nations drop the boundaries, when the cries we hear are our own, when words fail and there is so much work to be done? Right now, there is a rescue team from Iceland that is working to free people who have been entombed under concrete. They are alive, in some cases not injured seriously, but simple unreachable. How can we take this metaphor and make it usable in other parts of the world?When we cooperate to save lives under these circumstances, maybe we can apply that ferver to other kinds of quakes.

In the aftermath of the Haiti quake, social media continues to astonish. Text messages raised 2.1 million on one day alone. I've seen Twitter, and Facebook sites emerge, urge, inform and re-form the entire notion of how to help RIGHT NOW.
I wonder, though, as I peruse status updates on Facebook, some folks seem oblivious. No mention of a worldwide call for help. Are their lives that narcissistic? In this age of reality v. unreality, privacy v. no privacy, we can't really tell.

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