89 year old Helen Thomas, a virtual institution in the Washington Press Corp, when ambushed by a rabbi, growled that Israel should get the hell out of Palestine and and that the Israelis there could move to Poland, Germany and the U.S. Wow! Talk about speaking truth to power! It was too much for PC ears to take and she resigns her political column. The Washington press corps is pondering taking away her front row seat where she has needled presidents for generations. Hmmm.
I have recently endured flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Oregon, Oregon to Las Vegas, Las Vegas back to Oaxaca where I live. Right now, I don’t care if I see another airport or security line as long as I live. You don’t think jet lag combined with culture shock doesn’t turn the world into more of a surreal event than it already is?
Combine this with two months of demonstrations with round-the-clock fireworks, rockets, petrol bombs and gunshots and then three days of riots where 30,000 tires turned Bangkok black and 25 buildings were burned down…one of them Asia’s second largest mall…more than 90 people killed and a couple thousand injured…over 400 arrested and 200 disappeared…a volcanic eruption in Iceland that brought air travel to a halt nearly the world over and almost detained my dentist for weeks, floods, earthquakes, tsunami warnings…an outrageous “oil spill” that is surreal in itself. Add to that bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan killing hundreds. A video released by Wikileaks.com shows a U.S. helicopter attack on a group of people in Baghdad (and also their good samaritan rescuers) in which they were all killed including two Reuters journalists. Looked like a surreal video game except that it was horrendously real. Then a vicious Israeli attack on a Turkish flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza by taking in supplies to the Palestinians. Helen Thomas conveniently took that off the front pages. (News junkie that I am, it’s a good thing I don’t have TV.)
Then Las Vegas, surreal in itself, where my son spent a week telling me all about the coming world financial crisis…backing it up with all his audio tapes by “renowned economic experts.” Having read about the German bail-out of the Greeks and fear that Spain and Italy will follow, and with our debt in China’s hands it sounded rational to me. Buy gold and silver and get out of the market my son tells me. But…but…Come live with me in Oaxaca, I said, where people already live like people in the U.S will in the future. It’s called self-sufficiency.
Finally it feels weird to be back in a relatively tiny slow Oaxacan pueblo after six months in Bangkok and Hong Kong. 70,000 teachers are striking again and a caravan to a barricaded Trique village in the mountains suffered the shooting death of a Trique woman and a Finnish human rights worker by a rival Trique group aligned with the government. The weirder thing is that the demonstrators in Bangkok wore red T-shirts and the Triques wear red ethnic dress…at least the women.
A few days ago I took a nap about 3:30 in the afternoon. When I woke up, feeling quite refreshed, I went into the kitchen and checked the clock. 6:30, it said. Oh my gosh, I thought, I slept clear through the night…not an uncommon occurrence these days! So I made coffee, toasted a bagel, and went out onto the veranda to check my email.
As I was sitting there facing the park, I noticed the sky getting dark. Oh, a storm must be coming in, I thought. I went on checking email (most of which are Couchsurfing.com forum posts) and Twitter where I get the latest information on the political aftermath of the Red Shirt rally in Thailand. When I looked up again the sky was a little darker…but no wind was coming up as is usual just before a storm, which, btw, took down one of the huge trees in the Zocalo the other day…the crack of it sending people running every direction. Somebody should prune!
So onto my Facebook updates. By then the sky was really getting dark. I thought about that Mayan calendar that ends in 2012. I noticed that my friend Rico was on line on Facebook chat so I asked him, Why is the sky getting dark? He ignored me, however, and started describing all his latest. Damn. Typical Rico, I thought. But why is the sky getting dark! By this time, I was really getting freaked out. RICO! What is going on?!!! Dunno. Is a storm coming in? Don’t think so. It goes on like this.
Serious concern here. Finally I checked the date/time on my computer thinking maybe I didn’t change the time zone from Asia to Mexico…a 12 hour difference. No, it’s ok. Then I noticed the computer said it was Wednesday. It should have said Thursday. What day is it, Rico? Wednesday, why?
As is obvious by now to my dear readers, in all this time it never once occurred to me that it was 6:30 in the evening. Damn. Is this what I have to look forward to? Quit reading the news, I hear you telling me. But isn’t this what senility really is? Thoughts wondering aimlessly…alone…among their own disconnected damaged brain cells…oblivious to the world?
I take heart, though, from 89 year old Helen Thomas, who, btw, I think is sneaky sane. Me? Dunno. At 66 it doesn’t look good.