Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Funny Historical

It’s an odd moment, isn’t it? I heard on the radio in the car yesterday afternoon, on my way to pick Cassie up and shuttle her to her dance lesson, that the House voted down the economic bailout. All while the experts (such as they are) talked fiscal apocalypse. And the yellow leaves out the window on the right fluttered down, dislodged by a gust of late September wind. And the red pickup entered the traffic circle despite its not really being his turn. And when I got to the school, the after school program kids were out on the playground, and Cassie’s braids were flopping as she bounced a yellow ball with two hands.

It reminds me a little of one of those dreams I sometimes have in which the end of the world has somehow been announced, but for the moment all is eerie, sunny normalcy.

What does it even mean? How real is it? It’s not that I disbelieve what we hear, but it’s all so abstract. Pete points out that as a professor and a nurse, we’re both in fairly recession-proof lines of work, and I do think that’s probably contributing to my weird, muffled feeling as I listen to the news.

During Cassie’s dance lesson, I sat in the basement of the local arts facility while our sprightly little girls in black tights and leotards apparently conducted some kind of thundering elephants-vs.-water buffalo battle overhead. I watched the toddler little brothers and sisters running around the posts and thumping on the soda machine. The mothers sat mostly in twos and threes, talking about kids, and about somebody’s sister who was going out with a real loser.

I remember reading the Diary of Anne Frank in fifth grade (doesn’t that seem kind of young to read the Diary? were fifth graders older in the 70s than they are now?), and being terribly impressed with the momentousness of it all. I sporadically wrote little diary entries for the next few years--aimless noodlings, mostly--hoping that something Historical would happen at any moment. Then I could write about the Historical Times I was living in, and it would be all very important, somehow.

So are we here? Is it really 1929? (I picture us in a couple years, all getting our hair marcelled and making our own sauerkraut and playing cards around the radio.) Are we well on our way to Living in Interesting Times?


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