March 29th, 2008

memories

Ten years.

Ten years ago today, Gustavus Adolphus College and the rest of St. Peter, MN, were hit by a tornado. Like most of the students, I was away on spring break. I believe that this directly caused the zero fatality rate among the college students -- we all saw how people behaved when the sirens went off for previous events. If we'd all been around, there'd have been someone who was finishing a sociology paper, someone else who was just going to have a look.

I didn't learn so much from the tornado as from its aftermath, which seemed to stretch on forever. I guess the main thing was, there's no natural disaster so bad that the behavior of humans afterwards can't mitigate at least some of it for some people -- and there's no natural disaster so bad that the behavior of humans afterwards can't make it significantly worse. Primates are like that, I guess.

It feels like a decade. It really does. Close and yet distant, that's what decades feel like. I'm not getting out my old journals to bring the anguish and the worry closer or to feel more distant from that teenage girl. I don't want to relive, and I don't want to forget. Remembering is the right compromise between the two.
Wait -- what?

Existential.

Some mornings, one looks around and thinks, What is the potato masher doing here?

And one has really no idea.

And then one thinks, Had I better check on the potatoes, then?

And then for some reason one thinks it's best not.

Unsettling, though.