Thursday, November 1, 2012

Silences from afar

My poor soul is still "stuck" in northern New Mexico where I went for fall break, mening I've been without much phone or internet for almost two weeks now. Between the airlines and the subway and not having a solid ride situation on either end of the country, I'm still here in the mountainous and sage-covered Taos County. I am happy to report, though, that as far as most folks out here are concerned, Sandy was no big deal. In fact, most people who know me here asked, "what are you doing in New Mexico for so long?" to which I reply "Sandy" to which, mostly, they just look at me until I add the amendment, "...the New York. City."

This situation has led me to only reading bits and pieces about Sandy, mostly from facebook posts (to be honest), which has me thinking about the scale of silences that happen in regard to disasters. Of course, there are historical silences; people die in tenement fires but few remember them while corporations and the Army Corp have been building shoddy infrastructure for...well, pretty much since the United States has undertaken big infrastructure projects. And yet, there are also contemporary silences. For most of us here in northern New Mexico, the hurricane is a world away with only tangential connections. While rain poured on the Northeast and recovery teams started clearing the streets, I've actually spotted three largish brush/wild fires. All those warnings and images of the death and destruction and loss didn't quite make it over this part of the Rocky Mountains until well after the temporally-designated "disaster" was over. Information, stories, and memory aren't distributed equally. Historical silences make possible current silences as well.

As the late piƱon-scented sunset graces my face, I can honestly say that experiencing this blockage/dismissal of information pertaining to a significantly-sized disaster has made me terrified of the zombie apocalypse even more than I already was. How will I know if I need to swing by the gun shop on my way back to Yale?

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