Monday, May 2, 2011

Remember where you were when....?

It's 11 PM, I'm at a bar on Richmond with a pitcher of beer between my buddies, and Barack Obama is on the radio addressing the nation about Osama Bin Laden's death. Drunk customers are around us cheering and shouting slogans, and in the spirit of the moment, we drink to America at each refill.

I try to keep my mind away from the place it's headed, the place I know it'll end up when I finally make it home and there's no one but me and a bottle of scotch in my room. The night grinds on, Anthony and I talk about liver cancer, share a pack of smokes and shoot pool. In-between drinks, I sign on to facebook and check all the status messages blowing up across my friend list, "Osama is dead," "GW is karate kicking the air and shotgunning beers," "Thank you to our soldiers." Then I see your picture pop up in my news feed, E, and I have to wonder about the utter strangeness of the world.

Back home finally at 3 AM, I'm reading the New York Times, and the front page pictures slide across my screen in a bitter commemorative roll. Firefighters sitting in a row in Times Square, a midnight parade in DC, and then pictures of Bin Laden smiling and looking perfectly at peace with his lot. I'm wondering now about who he was as a boy, what his mother and father were like, whether there was an alternate and more simple life for him that didn't involve these last 10 years, and somehow I've wandered into what feels like sympathy. Hate leads us in circles, somehow vengeance doesn't feel just but neither does the alternative of inaction. How should we instead celebrate the moment?

Maybe I just need to go to bed. 

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