This crazy awful week brought Phantom back to her blog, and I guess it’s brought me back, too, although this is going to be a bit of a rambling post. I heard about the earthquake first reading friends’ Facebook posts last Friday morning, and I feel like I’ve spent much of the past week obsessively hitting the refresh button on my browser, trying to find new news.
I can’t seen to find answers to the questions that I’m most interested in. The nuclear worries seem to have pushed out the stories about the people in the shelters, and now Libya seems to be pushing the coverage of the reactor off. But I can’t stop thinking of all those people in shelters — I don’t have a good sense of how many people are still in them, and if they’re getting regular food and water now. It seems like some of those towns are going to take years to rebuild, if ever. I didn’t think I’d ever say something good about the response to Katrina, but putting people on buses to Houston did make a lot more sense than putting them up in tent cities in Louisiana. Is anything like that happening?
Living Social is doing a 1:1 match of $5 donations to the red cross, so I did that, but I haven’t donated otherwise yet. It’s not clear to me that money is what’s preventing aid groups from doing what’s necessary. If you can’t get into the devastated areas, what can you do with money? Haiti may still be the higher need. I just don’t know.
I’m fascinated by the “there’s no looting in Japan” meme. Well, for one thing, there’s not much left to loot in the worst hit towns. But I thought this take on it from Slate was interesting. At least some of the versions of the meme have clear racial overtones. Does anyone remember seeing stories one way or the other about whether there was looting in China after their big earthquake? I don’t. (As contrasted with Japan, China is NOT a country that prizes waiting on lines — or at least that ‘s what I gather from reading American Family’s very funny take on Hong Kong Disneyland — does that translate into looting during a crisis? beats me.)
As it happens, we have tickets to go to China and Japan this summer. We also have trip insurance. We’re obviously waiting to see what develops, but at this point unless the radiation and the power shortages get a lot worse, I assume we’ll go ahead. We weren’t planning on going anywhere north of Tokyo. Yes, there’s a detectable level of radiation, but my house also has a fan venting the radon out of our basement. People don’t freak out about having CT scans, which are higher levels of radiation. (Actually, maybe they should freak out a bit more, especially about the “whole body” scans sold to perfectly healthy people as a precautionary measure.)
So, it’s been a hard news cycle week. And then we all took turns with the stomach flu. But we’re all better now, and it was a gorgeous sunny warm day today, and we worked on the tree platform in our yard (the lumber for which has been in our garage since October) and N rode his bike without training wheels for the first time. So, I guess I’m cultivating my garden. (And Candide was written in response to the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, which just goes to show that people have been struggling with the question of how do you keep going in the face of horror for an awful long time, and will presumably be doing so in the future unless we actually succeed in blowing ourselves up.)