Thanks to my friend Kelly, I've discovered a new blog that I absolutely love. I haven't had time to obsessively read every page yet (I do have a little bit of a life, I'll have you know--just not much of one), but I came across this post in his archives that just sums it up perfectly.
This is what is was like, in the days immediately following Katrina, when we had no news and everyone was telling us that it might be best to just cut our losses and move. This is what is was like when people were debating on CNN and Fox whether New Orleans should be rebuilt. This is what is was like. We weren't listening to anything anyone had to say. We were thinking about everyone we knew in New Orleans and the people whose names we didn't know but who were still a part of our lives. This is what is was like. I hope sturtle won't mind if I quote him in full:
I know I've been spouting a lot of sappy, stoner-esque talk since this whole thing began, but you have to admit, it's all a little, well, mind-blowing (to borrow a well-worn stoner phrase).
I mean, think of it. Think of everyone you encounter on a daily basis.
The eccentric neighbor who spends way too much time gardening and way too little time fixing up his decrepit house.
The crazy cat lady who stops you on the sidewalk in the unbearable noonday sun to tell you about her newest grandchild or her plans for this year's Christmas decorations.
The guy at the coffee shop who makes your heart flutter each morning but who acts like he's never seen you before.
The girl at the coffee shop who flirts shamelessly with you and has your order ready to go before you've even reached the counter.
The security guard you've seen almost every day for the past five years but whose name you couldn't remember if she held her gun to your head.
The secretary at the front desk who always eats lunch by herself in the same corner of the canteen and who'd be almost pretty if she'd get that hair out of her face and bought some clothes that actually fit.
The woman at the bank who was just transferred to town after a lifetime spent in Minneapolis.
The girl at the grocery store whose hair changes a little bit each week--at least, you think it does, so you compliment her on it, but she just looks at you like you're nuts, then puts your eggs and bread in the same flimsy plastic bag.
The guy at the bicycle shop that you really can't stand because he's just so damn surly (not to mention cute).
Your best friend's aunt, who had you over for dinner six months ago and to whom you still haven't written a thank-you note.
The bartender at your favorite watering hole who only charges you for every other beer.
The bartender at your backup watering hole who takes forever to mix a goddamn Absolut on the rocks, dirty.
The woman who runs that theatre downtown where you were pleasantly surprised by the last play.
That guy who was in that show with whatisface, your friend from, like, a decade ago--what was his name?
The barfly who nearly puked on your half-naked, flip-flopped feet last week.
That chick with the red hair, the Thursday night go-go dancer.
The guy you used to call "White Chris" to distinguish him from the two black guys named Chris in your immediate circle of friends.
That woman you saw on the corner last week with the granny-cart full of Flavor-Ice boxes and a little girl holding the hem of her housecoat.
The waiter at that Vietnamese restaurant who was nice enough to bring you extra Basil leaves for your soup.
Everyone you saw on the streets last Mardi Gras.
Everyone who was at your house for New Year's Eve.
Everyone who was at your house for New Year's Eve, year before last.
That man who sits on your board who's a bank president and a total pillar of society and everything but who just refuses to remember your name.
The woman who grooms your dog.
That kid with the red hair who wiped out on his skateboard in front of your house.
That guy in your yoga class who's nice and all, but seems like he's competing with you on some level.
Your fraternity brother who you ran into on the street who's now working for some marine supply company in suburbia.
The kid two houses over who said he can fix your roof, no problem.
The kid's grandmother and grandfather, who live with him.
All their relatives.
All their friends.
All of their relatives and friends.
In short, everyone--everyone--for as far as you can see, everyone you'd encounter in the course of a normal day. Imagine all of them gone. No one is where he or she would normally be. Each and every one of those lives disrupted, on hold, indefinitely. No one you know is living a normal life, at home, comfortable.
See what I mean? Mind-blowing.