Yes, it’s fair to say that the lack of blogging this week means that I had a rough week at work. An endless, difficult, soul-crushing week in which everything went wrong and another setback waited around every corner.
And I took absolutely no comfort in knowing that people elsewhere had it much worse than I. The week’s news was an endless list of horrors that I never thought I would see in this country, many of them especially terrifying to those of us who are parents, and it was impossible to ignore.
Unless you happen to be the president, of course.
No, no, I’m not going on a political rant here. But I have to say that this is a week that proves we should all pay a little bit of attention to my fellow journalists. You can’t dismiss them as political ideologues — most journalists actually aren’t, and in a week like this, the people reporting from the disaster zones know no party. They’re just reporting the news. (Any anecdotal evidence of a couple of shrieking pundits who are doing otherwise will be purged from the comments with an admonishment to read the Times-Picayune‘s site.)
We have a president now who selects his media, both as a newsmaker and a news consumer. This week shows the danger of such an approach. If you cut yourself off from the other 49 percent of the country, you miss things. Lesson for us all.
As a former coastal resident, I’ve followed hurricanes for a long time. It’s not supposed to be like this. You monitor the storm, get people evacuated, watch it blow through, marvel and mourn at the damage the next day and start rebuilding. You don’t watch conditions deteriorate into a cesspool of the most literal sense. (That’s why, with all due respect and sympathy for those who have suffered along the Gulf Coast, what has happened in New Orleans from Tuesday onward is simply a bigger news story — this simply isn’t supposed to happen.)
And in the words of Forrest Gump (film happened to be on), that’s all I have to say about that.
So it’s just as well that MMM was idle this week. All I could’ve done was the blogging equivalent of crying or screaming, and there’s plenty of that in the blogosphere.
On a personal level, Gump was a fitting farewell to the week of sorts. When I first saw it, I enjoyed it but found that it made me miserable. I felt like an idiot myself in those days for a number of reasons. Basically, I hadn’t figured out how to live as a college graduate. Dating prospects were nonexistent, and I was heading for a career dead end.
Today, it’s a little different but still sad. Any film in which a young wife and mother dies is going to cause me grief. I also feel sad at the end, seeing Forrest sitting for what might well be an all-day sit, staying in a house haunted by memories of his departed loved ones. We’re meant to think that he’s happy, but is he? It’s hard to put ourselves in his shoes — those of us with IQs above 75 would be bored silly sitting around and waiting for the bus to come back eight hours later.
Anyway, I write to bury the week that was. Today was great. We had a birthday party for the little boy on a gorgeous day. I was worried that the party was going to go horribly wrong — I even woke up in the middle of the night freaked out about it. We weren’t able to reserve a picnic shelter at the local park, so we were doing the rough equivalent of flying standby. I had pictures in my head of trying to set up on an embankment while mosquitos buzzed around us. None of that happened. All the kids had a lot of fun and gave us plenty of nice photo ops.
So with that, let’s get back to the music.