Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the cold chill hasn't left yet; it's mid-march and i still haven't been out to put a shovel in the garden. the kids are trapped inside also, so i stay with them most of the day, and then go in to work on my presentation late at night. while we are around the house, i obsess about japan, play the bog, and do facebook. i occasionally cook dinner, do the dishes, do laundry, or get my wife an ice pack.

the nuclear disaster just gives everyone chills and nightmares, and the news keeps getting worse with people somehow saying that there's no danger in tokyo, or california, or wherever, though it might by now be as bad as chernobyl. chernobyl killed reindeer way up in lapland but i can't remember the details, all i remember is that things have been going pretty much downhill in eastern and western europe ever since then, and you can't expect this radiation stuff to just ease up and into space and out of our way. an entirely devastated, radiated japan strikes at our earliest memories although i was born nine years after it happened; i guess anyone who is over 66 would surely have that imprinted in their souls for a lifetime, as will anyone who lives through this one. checking facebook, i occasionally hear from various japanese students & ex-students. other people have gone on living their lives; i can barely figure out how. i feel paralyzed, unwilling to leave my family (i'm expected to leave on thursday for new orleans & probably will)...but just want to hold everyone tight. let's skip the nightmares & just hold each other.

the campus is totally empty but for a few cars, a few researchers studying. i've simplified considerably in order to get out the door. the place is a little creepy when it's entirely empty but i get a lot done. i also took a trip down to a small town to take the cat to the vet, earlier in the day; it was still cold, and rainy, but it was good to get away and the cat, the one with the smashed-in face, is well-known in that vet clinic where they saved her life. these small towns are weird, though, in the way everyone looks at you if they don't know you; they try to figure out where you come from and how you got there. this happened because we went to the nearby wal-mart; at the clinic, they already knew who we were. the wal-mart had a bit of age settling into it and a few empty shelves which always looks bad. i gave up looking for kitchen trash bags; i'm sure i could have found them, but i didn't have all day. near that wal-mart is a 'trail-of-tears convenience store' - i'm not sure i could live near this place without coming to terms with that. perhaps i could buy the place and simply change the name. or, there might be other solutions. the vet clinic somehow doesn't mind; they are at that very corner; they look out at the place; they keep on doing their business, healing animals, and don't seem to mind an alcohol-cigarette-gasoline outlet, named after an indian massacre. or a dusty wal-mart, right behind it.

the japanese are trying to figure out how one handles high levels of radiation, in the air, in the ground, in the food, etc. i don't know if it's possible to 'evacuate'...since it will ultimately find it's way throughout a small island and possibly farther. we'll soon find out the dangers of putting radioactive material all in one place, i have a feeling of dread, obsession turned to a cold, scary need to curl up in bed, and stay there for a while.

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