Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nor Any Drop to Drink

Far from letting up, the rainy season appears to have rolled up its sleeves and begun its work in earnest. It has been raining without end for the past two days now, and Friday boasts a similar forecast; in fact, according to, storms are predicted for Osaka all the way through the 29th and beyond. The water falls steadily, solemn as a coffin. In its effect, it's as good as any set of prison bars.

This circumstance has added a new challenge to my morning commute. Skirts are a must, as pants quickly succumb to the creeping moisture of puddles. I only have one working pair of dress shoes even remotely able to cope with the deluge, though I wonder if patent leather will last another 10 days of this... The most trying aspect of the weather, however, is simply working up the will to actually go forth into it. Establishing a brisk pace upon venturing out seems to help. I generally set some appropriately timed song to endlessly repeat on my ipod, and use that to keep up a steady gait: this morning 'Blue Orchid' by The White Stripes carried me safely through; tomorrow, I'm thinking 'Rebellion' by Arcade Fire might be a good choice.

Yet despite my best efforts, I find I arrive at work damp from roughly the elbow down and the shoulder blade up. My hair is to thank for the second condition. It falls just a couple of inches above my elbow, and acts as a wick, drawing the rain up my back to the nape of my neck. The constant slight physical discomfort has the weird side effect of heightening my corporeal sense of self. I feel awake all over. Or maybe that's just The White Stripes talking... Either way, it's a strange contrast to the monotony of unfaltering thunderless rainfall. The days blur into each other, like passing train cars.

At work, we have been leaving CNN on, so as to follow the growing disaster in Lebanon. Standing by my desk, attempting to dry myself sufficiently with the rotating fan so as to be able to sit in my chair without drenching it, I find the TV filled with images I can not begin to connect to reality. There has been enough said on the subject of disporportionality that I do not feel the need to add to the discussion; I would like to think that I could never comprehend the level of hatred and desperation that haunts the players involved. But I know, too, that the fighting in the Middle East is a concious choice of both sides, and not some inherent, unappeasable force of nature as the longevitiy of the conflict would lull one into believing. It can be stopped. I still remember my father waking me up in the middle of the night when Yitzhak Rabin was shot, how worried he looked in the digital glow of the television set, and how I struggled to understand the depth of what was vexing him. I was 16 then. The import of that moment is revealed to me more and more everyday. Reading Rabin's eulogies now, I fervently wish that he had lived. I hope that Israel finds another pillar of fire to lead them out of this current desert. And I'm praying for Lebanon.


Anonymous said...

If you want to pray for Lebanon, pray that Hezbollah and its foreign masters are driven from that beautiful country once and for all, so that Lebanon's people can enjoy the freedom and prosperity that the PLO, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah have denied them for so many years.

Katie said...

Dear reader,

I do sincerely hope that Lebanon can be free of all unwanted foreign influence. And I pray for Hezbollah to be brought to justice in a way that brings Israel more friends than enemies, so that that country can finally be free of terror as well.

I hope that you share these desires; I have no wish to quarrel with you.

Anonymous said...

I think we should send them falafel. Lots, but without tahini because you know what kinda trouble that can bring to the workforce. I do like shwarma though, its a tough call. Maybe just turkey sushi. No baby yet by the way.

Katie said...

Yeah, I was just wondering about said baby! What's the deal? Any talk of inducing labor?

Anonymous said...


As a regular reader, I have no wish to quarrel with you either. I am a Navy reserve officer (and more than once an FSO hopeful), currently on recall to active duty and bound for the Middle East next month, and believe me when I say that nobody wants peace more than the professional soldier.

It's just that I believe that peace is more likely if instigators like Hezbollah and its puppetmasters are wiped from the scene forever. I by no means wish harm to come to innocents. Far from it. I weep for the losses of the people who so recently experienced their "Cedar revolution." I know that most Lebanese want peace and quiet. And I primarily blame Hezbollah for distributing militarily valid targets among the civilian population. Lebanon to me is an example of what the region CAN be if it so chooses: a liberal, secular, and tolerant place where all can find a home and be respected--something which has tentatively existed since the end of the civil war. An example to the rest of the Middle East of what's possible when people just get along and mind their own business.

My prayer is that the promise of Lebanon, briefly seen in its past (far too long ago), can be revived in its future. Beirut used to be the "Paris of the Middle East," as I'm sure you're aware. One of my most fervent wishes is to walks its streets someday, as it's a city whose call has rung out to me for some time.

It's a fine line, I know. I hope that the Israeli forces are able to exercise the proper restraint (a hope I have for all combatant forces, whatever their side), and that all other nations keep their hands out of the present conflict. I check the headlines constantly, knowing that very positive or extremely horrible outcomes are distinct possibilities at any moment.

And I hope for the best. I suppose there's not much else I can do.

Katie said...

I wish you luck and a safe return.