Thursday, September 22, 2005


I read a wonderful column recently by my new favorite at the SF Chronicle's online magazine ( for the uninitated) by Mark Morford. To paraphrase crappily, he was responding to readers' responses that he had the audacity to go and make merry at Burning Man while Katrina's victims were suffering. His point was, in essence: yeah, well, sometimes all we have is the merriment while its there, and we damn well better live and love and party and make merry when we have the chance. Next time, we could be in the devastation, airplane crash or fall prey to life's simple tragedies. I believe this. I believe the best those of us who are far far from the crisis can do is to live meaningful, happy lives.

Still, right now one of my best friends in the world, who recently got hired by the now much-reviled FEMA (and believe me, she's a straight shooter who is as frustrated with the red tape and ineptness as anyone outside the agency), and is now in the first week of a possibly 6 week stay in Jackson, MI. She sent us a nine-page missive today about what it's been like. It sounds like tensions are high simply among those there to help, and there are just as many scam artists as there are people helping. They've had their hands tied, they've been hurrying up and waiting, and then they've been doing all they can. Point is, it's not a rosy situation, and it's going to get less rosy, and she too is preaching the message of self-reliance. We've got to learn how to take care of ourselves, learn to ask for help when we need it, and probably, keeping a disaster kit is not a bad idea even here. We all know California's going to break off into the ocean or disappear into an earthquake sooner or later anyway.

And then I received a letter from a man whose family I donated money to. It wasn't through the Red Cross, (though I gave to them too, which might have been a mistake if my friend's rumors of careless spending are true). I read about his story through a friend's blog. I was so moved to have an actual name, an actual story that I asked for his contact info and sent it to him directly. And you know, I wish it had made me feel full of humanity and power and gladness, but it only felt like a drop in the bucket. Still, he and his wife wrote me back and had this to say...(they've lost everything, a family, of I think seven):

"Jordan we have been touched by so many good hearted people taht we really feel that we are blessed and we know that God does not put anymore on you than what you can handle..."

That's food for thought, eh?



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