lettuce - Column for 10/6

Odd OCD Habits I’ve Picked Up Since September 11:

- Chewing on my facial hair
- Talking back at the TV set
- Wearing glasses, not contact lenses (in case of some kind of emergency, my eyes are protected.)
- Shaving my head. (With a buzzer, not a razor, so I look like Mr. Clean after a 3-day-weekend bender).

Strange Dreams I’ve Had Since September 11:

I’m with friends, in a truck, on what appears to be the Alaskan tundra, though I’ve never been there. My friends are mad at me and I don’t know why. One by one, they leave the truck, only I don’t know where I’m going. I stop in a town with many trees, and no one speaks to me.

I suffer from a toothache. I pull the tooth. There are little worms on it. I am prohibited from harming the worms, but am naturally quite confused as to why they live in my mouth. According to the dentist, it’s because it’s warm in there. I am wearing a cowboy hat throughout the dream.

I am a member of an elite troupe that drives around in what appears to be the Studebaker from the Muppet Movie, after it was painted by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. We are all rescued from the time and place where we were about to die. In the car, we drive from place to place, trying to get to other people before they die. We most often fail. (This may be about my upcoming wedding).

Positive Things That Have Happened Since Sept. 11

I no longer watch the news until 3am. I now watch Star Trek until 3am. Note: I finally saw that ending to that Star Trek episode where Captain Picard gets turned into an evil Borg. Eh.

I wrote a song. It has nothing to do with the World Trade Center towers – but rather it’s about the 1001 Arabian Nights. It’s about a woman named Scheherezade who e tries to talk a murderous king out of his rage. I didn’t mean it to be about the Towers.

I went through some old letters, and realized that my High School girlfriend and I really did care a lot for each other, despite the fact that I occasionally wrote letters to her in the persona of my cat.

The Pettiest Tragedy Of The Whole Thing:

I feel like the hijackers have robbed me of the dreams of my sci-fi future. I thought I’d see massive Jetson’s mile-high sky platforms, with rocket cars zooming about. I’d have a personal jetpack with which to fly from place to place, wind streaming through my hair.

But now, there won’t be many more skyscrapers, and I doubt we’ll ever get rocket cars, let alone jet packs. And since I shaved my head, the only thing streaming through my hair are people’s fingers, pointing at the big ol’ Gorbachev-style red birthmark hiding at the crown of my head all these years. Who knew?

The First Thought I Had Seeing The Pentagon Damage:

It was bigger than I thought. It was worse than I thought. It smelled like a NASCAR rally.

When I Went To A NASCAR Rally:

Earlier this summer. Orange County Speedway outside Durham, North Carolina. It was pretty dull at first, but I got into it, and against my better judgment, I enjoyed seeing cars crash. I didn’t really think about the safety of the drivers. I just assumed they’d be okay, even though Dale Earndhart had died just a few months back.

What The NASCAR Rally Reminded Me Of:

A strip club. In that everyone was really quiet (although it was so loud, who could tell.) All these guys, just staring forward, as the cars, or women, went ‘round and ‘round. The only cheering I really recall was during this one race, where the winner was a woman – the only woman to race that day. I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed by the support she got, or be disturbed that she was alone. There were no posters or t-shirts of her. They were all of Bailey’s cigarettes (a local brand) and of Dale Earndhart.

Hey, Remember When A Single Accidental Death Was Enough To Make America Sad?

Yes.

Oddest Moment Since September 11:

Taking my fiancée out to La Crosse, Wisconsin for her birthday, for a ride on a Mark Twainian Mississippi Paddled Steam Boat. It was a benefit for the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra (they weren’t bad). We made friends with a lot of people on the boat, who when they heard I was from Washington, DC, wanted to know about my experiences in town. They asked me what the Pentagon site looked like, and I told them. They asked about the smell, and whether the airborne debris was toxic or dangerous in some way.

I wondered whether I should tell how most of my friends in New York are less worried about asbestos, and more weirded out by the fact they’d been inhaling human remains, from the countless victims vaporized in the blasts. Instead, I just made that NASCAR analogy.

My Greatest Fear:

Getting a phone call from my fiancée, from an airplane skyphone.

Maybe second to that is that dissent will be equated with treachery, instead of the patriotism it truly is. It makes me want to write something very dissenting here.

- I don’t think this is a “war”, but I don’t know another word for it. It’s more than a “crime,” so I’m at a loss.

- I want to go to the anti-war protests, but I don’t want to hear any Israel bashing, so I stay put.

- Sometimes I think the President is doing a pretty good job.

- Other times, I get really embarrassed, especially when he referred to “ticket counters” taking to the sky.

- Sometimes, I wish Tony Blair was our President.

- I really really hope that when Bush was reading the John Adams biography this summer, (as Ari Fliescher, his press secretary, constantly announced that he was), that he got to the part about the “Alien and Sedition Acts.” That’s where Adams’ government arrested journalists who undermined his presidency, and is part of the reason why we don’t have a big ol’ Adams memorial on that National Mall. I hope Bush read about how that was a really bad idea. I know that Fliescher, who said that those who criticize the White House should “watch out,” didn’t.

How Long Before I Started Feeling Cynical Again:

Two and a half weeks. When politicians visiting sites began looking more and more as if they were shooting campaign commercials. When government officials and the President were introduced by lesser members of their cabinets, who lauded said official or president for their work – as if this were some kind of campaign trail appearance, and not the necessary steps to rebuild the nation. “Now,” I said to myself, “you can be cynical again.”

The First Thing I Did Once I Got Cynical Again:

Made fun of Ari Fliescher’s hair. It’d look better if he just shaved it off.

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