The 99 % Speak Up in San Mateo

Make Wall Street Pay

Jobs not Cuts

Friday in San Mateo

Host:  Cilla R., MoveOn member

Where:  Bridge at Alameda de las Pulgas and Highway 92 (in San Mateo)

When:   Friday, Oct. 14, 4 p.m.

Can you come?

What:  The media is finally starting to pay attention to the tens of thousands of people demanding Wall Street pay to create jobs, not cuts.  This is our chance to push for policies that work for the 99% of us who can’t afford lobbyists.  Whether protesting banks not paying their fair share, rallying for jobs, or standing in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, we’ll amplify our message for politicians:  jobs now —  make Wall Street pay!

Lorrie Moore’s 9/11, in the 12 September 2011 New Yorker (Moore Discusses “the Fictional Normal”)

Like many people, I watched 9/11 on television from a thousand miles away.  Also like many people, I found myself asking, among the dozens of terrified questions that crossed my mind, Do I know anyone who works in the World Trade Center?  I was pretty sure that I didn’t.  And I was about to relax ever so slightly and guiltily, when I suddenly remembered —  wait a minute —  that my brother worked there.  Or had.  He’d been there during the first bombing, in 1993, and I wasn’t certain whether the state administrative office he worked for was still situated there.

It turned out that his office had moved just across the street.  My brother was in the W. T. C. subway station when the first tower was hit and, after the second one was hit and the adjacent buildings were evacuated, my brother, covered in ash, and unreachable by anyone, walked eight hours home to Queens.  The next day?  He returned to work and sat there at his desk for two hours, waiting for others to show up —  until at last it became clear that not a single other person was going to.  And so he left.  The cough he already possessed became permanently worse.

*     *     *     *

The world is resilient . . .  no matter what interruptions occur, people so badly want to return to their lives and get on with them.  A veneer of civilization descends quickly . . .

Could the above possibly have anything to do with what Hannah Arendt, in Eichmann in Jerusalem, calls “the banality of evil”?  For instance, the way in which the Nazi guards kept such detailed daily records of movements of prisoners here and there, the idea of creating a bureaucracy of pain, the playing of classical music after mass murder, etc.?  Were these the Nazis’ attempt to create for themselves a “fictional normal”?  (Self, what are you on about now?  Why does a phrase like “the fictional normal” suddenly cause you to make a transcendent leap to the “banality of evil”?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

2nd Sunday of October 2011: University Avenue, Downtown Palo Alto

The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.

Self found this little watercolor in son’s room today (His room is like a museum.  Step inside, and self half expects son to be lounging on the bed).  The painting was of bright orange lilies.  The quote, above the lilies, was identified simply as “Zen Wisdom.”

A few minutes ago, self checked her e-mail and found a message from son.  She just got back from Bacolod, and her nerves have been a-jangle.  This weekend, she was alone, since hubby is in Manila.  She walked Bella, whose tail wags every time, all throughout the walk, notwithstanding the fact that she is almost 16 years old.

Earlier in the day, self made the trek to the Apple Store on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto, the store she considers the “mother ship.”  From a block away (She’d parked near Gelato Classico, because of course there’s no sense in self’s going to Palo Alto without partaking of her favorite indulgence), she didn’t notice anything unusual.  It was only as she was preparing to cross the last intersection that she noticed a small crowd standing before the entrance to the store.  They were all standing absolutely still, as if gathered for prayer.  The feeling was solemn (which, as anyone who’s ever walked around downtown Palo Alto knows, is far from being the general mood of the place).  And the windows of the store, from top to bottom, were covered with different colors of post-it notes.  Some notes had words, some had just a scrawl, some had dark ink hearts.  There were newspapers, folded open to articles about Jobs.  There were flowers, bunches and bunches of flowers.  There were orchids, there were potted plants.  The store was open, people were wandering in and out.  Most of the passersby stopped, and the ones with children reined them in and held them back from trampling the flowers.

And of all days, this was the day when self forgot to bring her camera.  Here’s a picture she took with her cell:

Apple Store, University Avenue, Downtown Palo Alto, the Sunday After Steve Jobs Passed Away

Today was also the day when:

  • Self placed her novella about a mail-order bride, Marife.  The e-mail was in her “In” box, early this morning.  She had sent the manuscript out in July.
  • Self got a letter asking her to submit to a new anthology.
  • Self got an acceptance for “Flight,” a story she wrote earlier this year.  Niece G has read it.  So has Lillian H.  Self e-mailed Lillian right away; she’ll wait for this Sunday to tell niece.

Self has stories in the current issues of Our Own Voice and Storysouth.  Another story has just been picked up by the Asian American Literary ReviewUsed Furniture Review is going to publish “Jesters.”  While she was in Bacolod, in September, she got an honest rejection from an editor who had quite a number of things to say about a six-page piece.

Self doesn’t know how or when she entered this zone.  She only knows that, along with Gracie’s passing, and three trips to Bacolod (She also had one in December, but that counts as 2010), 2011 is such an incredible year.

Mostly, self is grateful that she is still alive and kicking, that son is in a good Ph.D. program, that Bella is still alive and kicking, that she and hubby still own a house, that her garden made it through the summer with hardly any plants dying, and that she is still doing what she loves most, which is writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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