in which title- related inpiration never arrived

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bagram, parwan, afghanistan, originally uploaded by sarah.eyre.

There’s comfort to the sameness of the days out here; it helps pass the time, it helps pace the time. Sundays, I call Sam. Mondays, I go to Staff Call. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, it’s all pretty much the same thing: wake, wash, eat, tidy, off to work, lunch, work, office, home, gym (if I can be bothered, and lately, less), late night chow, tidy, write, read, sleep. That’s it. Rinse, repeat approximately 49 times and voila! There’s a deployment.

Lately, it seems as though I’m living in two times: Overall Time, which is my large blocks- days, weeks- that seems to fly by; then there is Immediate Time, the smaller increments, those minutes and hours that take forever to eke their way by. I don’t know how that’s possible, to be in the middle of both, but it does seem that way: I can’t believe it’s September already, an yet today every hour crept past.


The news continues to depress me; I read the American reaction to the decision to allow some several thousand Iraqi refugees in the country and it sent me to the Canadian immigration website, it was so disheartening. People back home are still waving that 9/11 flag with zero idea of who was actually on those planes, or behind them, and that still shocks me. (The idea that there’s still some Pollyanna left in me to be shocked is a little horrifying, too.) People back home really believe that there were Iraqis or Afghans on those planes; they further believe that by fencing the US borders (seriously, where the hell is that money going to come from?) they’ll somehow stop terrorism from happening, even though the 9/11 terrorists entered through the traditional, legal routes.

I keep saying that I don’t believe that leaving the US is the answer; that if everyone who objects leaves then there’s no one left to try and fix things. I keep saying it, and saying it, and it has stopped making me feel better; I’m not sure I believe: 1) that is can be fixed, and 2) that America in general would have any interest in fixing things if it were possible.

I’m not saying Canada doesn’t have its problems. I’m not saying Canada would be some magical fix. I am saying that compared to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, Canada is starting to sound like the Land of the Sane and the Home of the Still- Brave- But- With- Less- Scary- Flag- Waving, lately.

I love my home. I love my life there, I love our life there, I love our friends and our house and the way we live. I deeply love, in some nostalgic way, so many of the original ideals our country was founded on. I love a lot of the rights that my fellow citizens seem so hell- bent on voting away in their race for freedom- from instead of freedom- to. A lot has gotten lost in the shuffle of the last 100 years or so- has any nation this young been so full of itself? And yet, and yet, and yet. I’m not leaving: it’s Home. I think, I educate myself, I vote, I try to make the world I’m in a better place.  I wonder, though, how much it would take- what exactly it would take- for the idea of Home to cease keeping me there.

And still. When do you give up, when do you shrug and say to hell with it all, I’m out of here? Why? How? What then? I’ve never been good at that, which goes back to hope, that last thing in the box, the cruelest joke, Skinner’s superstitious pigeons.


Shane tells us people are getting better, that it can all be turned around. I’d like to believe him- hell, I’d like to be him, that boundless energy and optimism. Tonight, I’ll settle for crossing my fingers and holding on to his voice in my headphones.  He’s from Canada, too. 

  One thought on “in which title- related inpiration never arrived

  1. September 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Thoughts of leaving have been part of my consciousness since the Viet Nam era and yet, it seems impossible to leave. This country is all I know. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by all that is happening here and it is difficult to see what one person can do to change anything. We need to realize that outreach and kindness in our own neighborhoods can make a difference and are worthy of our efforts. Personally, I’d like to acknowledge your own sacrifice to live abroad and work in such a difficult capacity. Not everyone could do what you do. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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