Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We all forget things from time to time, right? Oh, just little things mostly, like where we left something, or someone's name. However, in this age of information overload, I'm finding we increasingly forget the big things too. I just watched a Newhour report on Katrina, for example. Although many things are coming back in New Orleans, there are still many things that are not, these three years later.

Three years is a very short time in the aftermath of a major disaster. I should know. I lived through the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 and worked at a downtown business before and after, even though the downtown had been pretty much destroyed and was even cordoned off for a long time. It takes a long time to rebuild. Many things happen to the citizenry of a community in that time. People leave, make new decisions about their lives and so on.

New Orleans lost their criminal record department to the flood waters. The office is still being run on card tables, the Newshour revealed. That's not a scandal or anything, but it does show where things stand, in a major U.S. city, three years out. In Santa Cruz, the bookstore I worked in, and still work in, operated out of a giant tent for several years, as did many businesses that hoped to keep downtown alive. Not everybody made it.

Anyway, I'm realizing how quickly situations like Myanmar's tidal catastrophe or China's recent earthquake are usurped by current news. I'm not intending this blog to be doleful, I'm just hoping it will be a place to remember things that register as big events in people's lives, long after the media blitz has come and gone. Feel free to post or email if any of this strikes a chord, and I will try to give you a forum here.