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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Untitled, because there aren't words for this one

The blonde woman stood, sweat and dirt seeping from her forehead's pores. Behind her I saw the site of my first ever TV job interview. The New Orleans Convention Center was where I first sat with a guy who ran a TV station in Biloxi, MS. I was hungover, sweating myself, and nervous. I was young, stupid, and like many other times before and since, caught up in the easiness of the Big Easy. Dave offered me the job, I went to NOLA (one of Emeril's joints), ate some good food, and threw up in the bathroom.

It's one of many memories I have of the city, of the Gulf Coast, and of my misspent youth. For it, I feel guilty. While I'm likely not alone in the American populace, I still feel quite bad about the fact that nearly every memory I have of New Orleans has something to do with a party. Why these memories keep popping up in the middle of some of the most horrifying images I've ever seen, I have no idea. It sickens me to think of the fun. I literally want to throw up every time it happens.

And so the blonde stood in the middle of the street, her face a mask of anguish. She clutched a kid that looked to be about the same age as my son. She was on the verge of screaming. "Look. He can barely wake up." The kid's head rose slightly from his mom's shoulder then fell back. "This is not about low income or high income," the blonde said as she put a hand on her child's head. "This is about people."

I do not get emotional about news events. I have seen some of the worst of humanity. I've seen dead bodies, charred bodies, dismembered bodies. I've held the hands of mothers who have lost their children. I have seen the worst things I've never wanted to see. Never once have I wanted to throw up.

It has been four years since I've been so...so whatever I am...about something. Like many others I've talked to, I've not felt like this since 9/11. Making it worse, my wife and kid headed toward the fray while I stayed home to work. Left to my own devices, I've been doing what any bachelor does. I'm eating bad food, drinking beer, working, and playing cards with the guys. And I feel guilty for it.

To allay the guilt, I've donated money to a relief effort and worked with one of my clients to put together a massive fundraiser. There is a part of me that believes I should just sit and watch the TV to make myself feel as much of it as I can. But I can only watch for a few minutes at a time without wanting to throw up.

What's happening in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina is beyond imagination. It is all too real. Anarachy, looting, snipers, people carting their dead relatives through town.

I cringe every time some politico decides to make it a political issue. Robert F. Kennedy blasted the U.S. and blamed global warming. A radical anti-abortion group sent out pictures of the eye of Katrina and implied it looked like a six-month old fetus and it was our punishment for allowing abortion. Several GOP operatives have been on TV today and using the tragedy to pimp the need to drill for more oil.

It's just not the time for that, people. Do it during an election year. Now, find a way to get buses, trucks, anything to get those people out of New Orleans. Get the Guard down there and stop the anarchy. Stop the politicking and start helping.

Of course, that's me sitting on my couch. I'm not doing much but wanting to throw up.

And wanting to go to New Orleans and get that woman and her kid out and to safety.


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