The sky was cloudless, the bluest of blues and, in the days following Tuesday, September 11, 2001, silent as if it too were in shock from what it had witnessed.
The highways were orderly as generators were pulled behind tractor trailers headed south to provide light for those searching for survivors.
Drivers were patient and kind, waving one another thoughtfully into the flow of traffic.
My oldest son asked why the buildings kept falling down and I had no words to explain how our world could be filled with so much intolerance and hatred.
Our country, out of the ashes of tragedy, became the finest version of it that I’ve ever witnessed.
It will always be, for me, the divider between before and after.
When I run, I think. Last night I was thinking about the turmoil in our world – the terrorist attacks in our country and abroad, the conflict between our elected representatives and the folks they’re supposed to represent, the wave of anger that sometimes feels like it’s going to drown our country…it was pretty dark. The four letter word that seems to be most prevalent in all of those conditions seems to be hate, a word that I try not to use.
As the miles started ticking off, I began considering all of the other four letter words that I’m more inclined to use and realized how many of them have positive, even joyous, connotations. As I started listing them in my head I knew I needed to jot them down for the days that feel dark and populated by those who would rather hate than love. Here are my top 50, in alphabetical order. You know, because I’m a librarian and all.
What are your essential four-letter words?
- Five hours and two quick flights later, it is possible to be parking your rental car on King Street.
- My curls look best when my hair is dirty and salt water and sand are my chosen hair products.
- Charleston has far more liberals than I expected. There were even Bernie stickers!
- Where to eat and where they worship are two things shared frequently by residents.
- Speaking of where to eat, grits, biscuits, cinnamon rolls and mac and cheese would be my downfall eventually. I’m a carb girl.
- I can change my clothes in a car like a boss.
- The humidity in Charleston in August is a whole ‘nother level. I hope I remember this when we get hit here in Albany by elevated levels of heat and humidity.
- Downtown Charleston is beautifully compact and so very walkable.
- It’s a swamp – not a criticism, just an observation. There is water everywhere.
- Dining out, going to listen to music and having a drink solo is far preferable to not getting to do those things because you’re traveling without company.
- Life is satisfying when what you feel on the inside is radiating out for people to take note of. Case in point, this message from my AirBandB host:
I was so thrilled to see all the ways in which you discovered Charleston! You totally amazed us with your level of independence. Loved it!
One of the roads taken on this trip.
Do you ever have a day or two or three when it feels like you must be doing something right in your life? I mean, how else can you accept the good fortune that you’re experiencing? It almost makes a person believe that old adage about how if you’re happy inside, you’re happy everywhere you are. There’s no other way to explain the feeling of loving everywhere you go.
This trip has been remarkable. As I sat facing the charm of Rainbow Row, I had a hard time processing how lucky I’ve been in Charleston. The rain cooperated and only came at times that had no bearing at all on my activities. That’s saying something considering it rained 3 of my 5 days there. The people I’ve talked to have been friendly, the drinks cold and the food terrific. I scored parking each time I needed to and only hit legitimate traffic once – and that was on a draw bridge. It couldn’t have been a better solo trip.
You know, I didn’t grow up expecting to ever be in a position where I could indulge my itch to travel. I’ve come a long way since my first trip to Florida with one of my dearest friend’s family when I had $50 in my pocket, and that only because my brother gave it to me as I left our house. Along the way I learned to travel inexpensively, meals from grocery stores and delis, low budget accommodations, lots of self guided walking tours…you get it. It was good practice and I learned a lot.
Memories were made and I’m heading home with what feels like a new piece in place in my life’s mosaic. What’s your next destination?
“So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry”
– Jack Kerouac
Image: Rob Ball/Getty Images
A few years back I attended a music event called Mayhem at SPAC. The things we do for people we love! Anyway, we had a really nice afternoon, complete with sandwiches from Cardona’s, listening to a bunch of bands. The bands weren’t really my genre, but, it wasn’t bad until Slipknot started their set. Their sound, costumes, performance, tone, everything about them, just offended my sensibilities. I’m not a metal girl, obviously, but the anger they incited in the audience went beyond a mere difference in musical appreciation. They scared me. We left.
I don’t like loud noises or yelling. Often when I’m home alone I don’t bother playing music or having the television on because I prefer the sound of quiet.
I was reminded of Slipknot this week when I read the New Yorker story about Scaramucci. His vulgar, crass tirade offended and frightened me. Who talks that? Certainly not any rational, intelligent people that I know. I’ve got a potty mouth at times myself, but the words he was using and directing at individuals were so beyond anything I could ever imagine saying. How is it possible that this vulgar, vile man has been asked to represent our country on any level?
Some of us have become almost numb to the constant barrage of information provided by our individual news feeds, while others don’t seem offended at all by the outrageous actions and transgressions of our current White House residents and their staff. How would these unperturbed people feel if their child’s school teacher bragged about being a P*ssy Grabber? Would these same folks appreciate it if their personal doctor or lawyer publicly criticized someone as “trying to suck their own c*ck?” Would that be ok for them?
I never imagined feeling more comfortable with Slipknot than with the government of my country. You see, I could simply leave the show that disturbed me. Leaving the country would be a whole lot more complicated.
Why don’t drivers open their car windows on beautiful days? I suppose some may have allergies or might be on a call, but it seems like lots of folks don’t ever let fresh air in.
If we’re all just a moment from a terrible diagnosis, an accident or a horrible tragedy how can we make today count?
How is it possible for so many people to believe in Donald Trump? What does he have to do before his followers will accept that he is unfit for office?
Does anyone else think that time is simply moving too fast? I miss the days when summers felt so long that I was convinced the flowering shrubs bordering our driveway bloomed twice.
Why does leaving my phone at home when I take a walk or go to dinner feel like a rebellion? Is it really necessary for us all to be instantaneously reachable?
When will we stop fighting about civil rights and access to health care and higher education? What makes anyone believe that they’re more deserving of any of these things than anyone else?
Do you miss civility and manners like I do?
If you could time travel, which way would you go – back or forward?
One of the primary lessons we teach children is to share. How does that tenet get forgotten by so many greedy adults?
Why is life so hard for so many and how can I help to make it better?
Looking over the business checking account the other day, I noticed something weird. Apparently, I’d been dinged with a $36 insufficient funds charge. I was more than a little surprised since the charge was levied on Tuesday, June 20 and I had deposited a substantial certified check, via the ATM, on 6/17.
I find myself using the ATM quite a bit these days. It’s like banking on your own hours and it’s really convenient. When I made that particular deposit, the slip I received quite clearly said “deposit posts on 6/19.” When I followed up with the branch, I was given an explanation that kind of feels like bullshit, but maybe you can help me understand?
Here’s what I was told: the ATM clearly says that deposits post on the next business day. Now, if I made a deposit on Saturday the 17th, in my mind the next business day is Monday the 19th. Well, that’s not how Trustco (and maybe every other bank in the universe) sees things. Saturday’s transactions actually get credited on Tuesday. So, even though the slip says “deposit posts on 6/19,” they meant 6/20, which is the day that the bank elected to charge $36 prior to crediting that $10,000+ deposit.
Is it really any wonder that people seem to be moving to credit unions?
Ultimately, I was able to have the charge reversed, but I didn’t like feeling as if Trustco was doing me a favor. In fact, I kind of think I’m doing them a favor with my 5 accounts and mortgage.
Banks need to start making sense.