Thursday, May 18, 2006

Have A Nice Day

Am I a coward? An ostrich hiding its head in the sand?

I admit to being an emotional creature, incapable of watching a sad movie without shedding a tear. Couple that with an overly-analytical and brooding nature (after I have shed the tears) and a sizeable guilt complex courtesy of a Catholic background, well … it’s just not pretty.

Cognizant of my weakness, I tend to avoid situations or environments which would foster and encourage such emotional instability. This stems from self preservation and a humane consideration for the general public. People get awfully uncomfortable when they sense an oncoming emotional breakdown.

Recently I was asked if I would be interested in watching a preview of World Trade Centre. My immediate response was “Hell no!” which garnered me an extremely ugly look from the person. She must have thought I was an incredibly cold person to be so disinterested in such an important topic and I frankly did not feel inclined to explain myself to her. So shoot me, my rebellious instincts always rear up in the face of sanctimonious, presumptuous people more inclined to react with their LV bags than their brains.

But for you guys, I will make the effort because I actually like you. Whoever you are. As long as you are not that LV bag-toting hack who pissed me off.

Where were you on September 11? What were you doing? Who were you with?

I do not think any of us over the age of 8 will ever forget the exact moment we heard or saw the news. For those of us who were there and survived, I simply cannot even begin to express my sorrow and commiseration.

I was at home, working on my lap top, in front of the telly in the living room, and I glanced up just in time to see the ticker tape run across the screen announcing that a plane had just crashed into one of the Towers.

At first I thought it was a teaser or some sort for a movie. My brain just could not connect to the reality and it took a few minutes of rapid blinking and open-mouthed befuddlement before I switched channels to CNN. I sat there stupefied as I watched the burning shell of a once imposing building. The irony was that I was working on a disaster recovery presentation. It hit me hard and I remember chanting the words, “Oh my God,” over and over again.

After a while, I managed to move from my settee, my hands shaking and my vision blurred from unshed tears. To calm myself, I decided to have a cup of tea and I was still watching the telly from the kitchen when the second plane flew into my television screen.

At first, it looked like an airline advertisement. There was a surreal serenity with the plane flying unswervingly and smoothly through the blue skies. It looked as if the plane was just flying behind the tower so it was real shock right to the heart when flames and smoke plumed from the tremendous crash. I was pouring hot water into my teapot at that moment and the sight shook me so badly I ended up scalding my hand. The pain made it so much more a reality. Of course it was nothing on the pain, suffering, horror and grief that would follow for all the victims of this horrible crime against humanity but it seemed to herald that this affects me just as it would affect every single human being on this planet for centuries to come.

I will never forget September 11. Every move, every thought, every word and every graphic picture seen on that day will remain with me for the rest of my life. I’ve shed the tears for those lost and those who are left behind. I’ve experienced the repercussions from these senseless acts of terrorism when I have been detained at airports. I’ve lost people I knew.

To tell me I do not care just because I refuse to be a tool of manipulation in a public relations event is a foolhardy action. Ms LV Bag was actually very lucky I did not send her flying to Paris without the benefit of a plane.

You do not need a movie to remind us of what has happened in the last decade. It will never go away. Our lives have been forever changed and our interaction with each other become even more barbed and cautious. I am sure the producers of World Trade Centre have the best intentions but for me it is still too soon. I am a private person in grief and I do not like to rip that mourning shroud apart for the viewing pleasure of others.

I simply do not think I am ready to watch a movie about Sept 11 or the World Trade Centre. That’s not to say I do not read and find out the facts and myths on a daily basis. It’s just that watching a movie about it does not sit well with me at the moment. Perhaps in another five years when the memory is less raw and I will not be reduced to a sobbing mess within the first 10 seconds, I will watch the movie. Even if I watch the movie now, it will be in the privacy of my home, alone, when I can take out the individual jagged shards of memory and relive each cut and laceration on my soul.

We all grieve in our own way but the greatest tragedy is when we impose our shallow preconceptions on the world. Ms LV Bag can piss off and shout her bleeding heart into another LV atrocity. Get over yourself. September 11 & World Trade Centre is every day in my psyche. I do not need to attend a movie preview to demonstrate my feelings on the matter.

So here’s my twin towers to you, Ms LV Bag. Have a nice day.


Blogger ejm said...

Interesting. I would have been the one giving the dirty look - TO the unfeeling person who asked if I was going to watch the preview. And I don't think I'd feel the need to apologize or explain. I'd be more inclined to expect her to apologize for wanting to see the preview. In fact, I don't even want to see the trailer.

I'm thinking that never is too soon for a movie about 11 Sept 2001 in NYC. In time, I might have the courage to see a documentary. But a fictionalized account - even it is based on a true story? I don't think so.


12:24 pm  
Blogger Passionate Eater said...

Galvanizing post MM. You address a lot of important questions, and share a very intimate and vulnerable story. I agree with you, people deal with tragedy of Sept 11 in different ways, and I agree that because of the magnitude of what happened that day, everyway should be respected.

2:02 am  
Blogger MM said...

Hey Elizabeth, well, I am of the same sentiment obviously - I would watch a documentary but not a movie. I think to fictionalise the account is just a bit too disrespectful.

PE - Thanks for the comment.

12:36 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home