Thursday, July 07, 2005

London

There is little I can do--except keep the dead, the hurt, and the terrified in my thoughts. London has been through worse. But I am angry and saddened and horrified beyond saying. This morning there were people eating their Wheatabix and buying Time Out and thinking what to do for the weekend, getting into the Underground or on the bus to get to a job they might not have loved...gone. Thank God for the internet, through which I have heard that many of the people I know there are OK; just as on 9/11 people got on line to say "we're all right."

London is my second-favorite city in the world, after New York. I loved the city from the first visit I made there, when I was one of those people on the underground going to work in the morning. And, barring a complete and utter shutdown of the UK, I'll be there in just about a month, right after the Worldcon. It's hard not to be apprehensive about the trip, and I'm rarely the stick-my-chin-out-and-say-Oh-no-you-don't type, but... Oh, no you don't. And if you're looking for a way to change the world, blowing up a precious piece of it is not the way to start. (Any precious piece, for that it's worth...precious to me or precious to someone else.)

7 Comments:

Blogger Jonquil said...

Some places own you the instant you see them; you're theirs, they're yours. Auden wrote a long poem, The Limestone Landscape, about this; his is rolling countryside over limestone hills.

San Francisco is *the* city for me, the one true city. When I read *Angels in America*, it seemed perfectly right to read the scene direction: "Heaven. A city not unlike San Francisco."

I am sorry that they hurt the city you love, your place, your agora. I am fiercely glad to read all the British coverage of the Londoners stolidly going on with their lives.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

I was living in New York on 9/11. What I've read of the Londoner's response is very much like My Home Town's that day; outrage, kindness, coming together, and resolutely refusing to let the Bad Guys get in the way of life.

I've told this story before (I'm not sure I've told it here): on the morning of 9/11, I went out to the market to lay in a few supplies--I mean, who knew when there would be milk available again? I found people clustering together on street corners, listening to portable radios (rather like my recollection of the day John Kennedy was shot...I'm old, remember) and talking quietly but without panic. At the market, I saw the same thing happen several times: shoppers would approach some staple--toilet paper, bottled water, milk--look over the supply and take what they needed but no more, clearly intending not to take something that the next guy might need. I'm imagining it's sort of like that in London right now.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Jonquil said...

You can't be old, because I remember the Flintstones being preempted by the assassination, and I'm not.... uh-oh.

There was swing dancing at work today, on the patio. The nice young lady who was teaching us said "Boys on this side, girls on this side." I asked, "Where do the middle-aged bats go?"

8:35 PM  
Blogger C. F. Blog said...

I was in Catalina swimming with sharks (literally) when we heard about 9/11. Sometimes I wonder if an eye for an eye is not needed, to go over to wherever they live and just disrupt their city and their day. I truly don’t understand the hate to hurt others.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

I don't get it either. And the "eye for an eye" thing scares me, because unless it's imposed from A Big Authority Who Can Squish Both Sides If They Get Carried Away, the potential for a repeating cycle of vengeance is very high.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Jonquil said...

To look at any city (or lake, or island) that you love, download Google Earth. It gives you the satellite's-eye view of everywhere, complete with zoom.

This is so cool I was crying at the demonstration. http://earth.google.com/ Assuming that you have a recent PC, and yes, I apologize for the platform-centricness.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Alas, I'm Mac-based. Google will come around in time. Sounds breathlessly cool.

11:57 PM  

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