Monday, October 15, 2001

I have to justify why I downloaded an mp3 last night.

Saturday a week ago, while at home, I was on my way to my mom's bookshop in home town, driving in her car, Cecil, and as usually listening to BFBS - British Forces Broadcasting Service, the radio service for the british soldiers stationed in Germany. Tis the best radio station up there, best DJs, best music, and hell, the best thing are their traffic reports: I just LOVE to hear bizarre german autobahn exit names when said by a reporter who doesn't speak german and has a nice thick engish/welsh/irish accent. So adorable. If one thing makes me smile in the morn, it's the traffic report.

In any way, this was Saturday afternoon, and their "Calling Oman" show was on, basically a show with dedications and songs for those serving in exercise "Saif Sareea" in Oman. Usually, the DJ just reads the (often cryptic, often lovey-dovey) dedications out, but that Saturday, the chap doing the show was reporting live from the family center on one of the bases here in Germany, at a get together of the soldier's families, and the relatives were apparently handing round the mic and saying the dedications themselves.

And boy, was that moving.

I sat in my car and listened to wifes trying to sound alright and composed saying "I love you and miss you" to their hubbies sitting somewhere in the desert in Oman - but you could hear they were close to tears. There were very small kids saying their "Hi Daddy! Luv'ya, come back soon!" and young kids too shy to say anything and babies screaming in the background.

For me, in an odd way, that all got to me. It was all a bit much somehow.
I am not a military person, I do not support those air strikes (but don't have any great idea for a non-military solution either) and understand that some people decide for the military as a job. Those husbands and fathers and mothers are there in Oman to simply do their job and they have to carry the risks, yet I couldn't rid myself of knowing that when those men and women left for Oman at the end of August, they didn't know that this wouldn't be a reguar long planned exercise but that they would suddenly find themselves rather close to a major hot spot. - Neither did their families.

I sat in my car and felt with those families just like I felt for those families whose loved ones died in the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania, walking through NY putting up posters hoping that their mother, father, brother, daughter, lover was amnesiac and somewhere in a hopsital - as long as they were alive.
I felt for them just like I do for the refugees in Afganistan trying to get into Pakistan and for the families of the hijackers who are still deeply in denial and claim that the mossad planned the attacks.
I felt fot them like I do for the rescue workes and help personnel and volunteers all over the world, too, from red cross workers setting up refugee camps in Pakistan to the clean up crews in New York to the grief counsellors helping the families.

5 weeks ago, noone could have imagined what the world would be like today. The soldiers in Oman had no idea. Their families didn't. The people on the planes, in the offices didn't. No one did. Those attacks influenced the lives of so many people all over the world, in big and in small ways. They displaced people, they took fathers and mothers and relatives and friends, they sparked hatred against people because they look foreign. I can not forget that a Sihk man was killed because of hid turban.

Hearing the voices of the kids whose dads were in Oman -together with hearing that very same day that a good customer of my mom's is going off with the International Red Cross to the Pakistani border to provide health care for the refugees- made me realize how big and far spread that impact of the attacks has been.

And then the DJ on BFBS played a request by one of the wifes: Richard Marx's "Right here waiting".

Yes, kitschy. Yes, the ultimately overplayed, horrible horrible song of way too many LDR couples. Yes, sickening and sweet.

But still. To confess:

Yours truly sat in her mom's car and drove through home town and started swallowing hard and then sobbing at that whole "oceans apart day after day and I slowly go insane" thing.

Whythen, you might wonder?
I am not quite sure. Maybe out of some odd form of solidarity, maybe simply because I know what being away from someone is like, even if thankfully never in a situation where the one I love was in danger. That crying of mine was odd, bizarre almost, as many reactions, including my own, to all the things that have happened in the past month have been. - At least my crying was not angry or full hatred but mainly sadness. The oddest reaction I have seen was that guy at the baseball stadium memorial service in NY holding a sign saying "enough grieving: let's roll" and thereby asking for retaliatory strikes.

In any way, I downloaded that song last night, just like that.

However, the higher beings of the net must have wanted to save me from the hell that listening to Richard Marx is: the quality of that mp3 is so bad, that in combination with the song in general, it's unbearable to listen to.
At least something.

So please, do not worry about my sanity.
These are odd times, accept my odd behaviour.