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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aftershocks and the Super-Absorbant Human Psyche

It struck me yesterday, after logging several hours watching the wall-to-wall news coverage of the earthquake and reading Facebook and Twitter, that events, such as these, pack multiple impacts. While we all breathed a collective sigh of relief that no one died, after the shaking stopped, the business of living took over. Local newscasts interviewed families displaced from structurally suspect high rise apartment buildings. Hastily handwritten signs posted on the buildings' front entrances banned tenants from entering and retrieving their personal belongings. So these people sat outside, making temporary homes in the building parking lot, with nothing but the clothes on their back. They wondered where they would spend the night, but it was OK. Friends and family recounted their tales of survival in cramped Metro trains and in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but it was OK. By this morning, my coffee house posse were busy trading "where were you" stories - one guy was having his colonoscopy when all hell broke loose - ouch!! These stories, though, all shared the same punchline: at least we're OK. And that's the point, isn't it?

At some point, we're OK. The one thing that I am sure about when it comes to human beings is that we can take a punch! We can absorb an awful lot. One of my friends posted to her Facebook page that since arriving in Washington, DC, she's survived the DC sniper, blizzards, 9/11, and now this. It may not be the stuff of a Convention and Visitors Bureau advertisement, but she makes a great point. It's like that old Broadway song from Follies, "I'm Still Here" where the singer chalks up a lifetime of highs and lows to one significant, unshakable truth, that no matter what's happened, she's still here! And so am I. The pictures on my wall may be crooked, and the spices in my kitchen cabinets may have been tossed around, and I may have to incorporate yet another thing to fear into my lexicon of daily living, but I'm still here and that's life, I'm just saying:)

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