Monday, March 14, 2011

Hit me over the head, why don't you?

Last week when I went away for the weekend, I indulged myself with a pedicure. Let me tell you: a pedicure in Ft. Lauderdale is a HELL of a lot more expensive that one in Buffalo. But, I was at a swanky hotel (at someone else's expense) and my toes needed some paint. So I bit the bullet, and booked an appointment.

The lady who treated my feet was not a classic beauty (and, if you're wondering, her forehead was within normal limits) but she was what I would call "striking". She had freaky red (i.e., dyed a non-human red color) hair and dramatic eye makeup. She was probably about 40 but dressed like she was 20. She was from Uzbekistan. Initially she told me she was from  Russia, but when I pressed her for details she confessed she was from Uzbekistan. She said most people who come into the salon have no idea what she's saying when she says "Uzbekistan" so it's easier if she just says "Russian".

She and I had a crazy conversation. It started off innocently enough : kids, jobs, weather. And, then it veered drastically into dangerously controversial territory. She asked me what I thought about the year 2012. I looked at her very quizzically. "You don't know that the world is ending in 2012?" "No.... " I answered quite naively.

She told me this was what was going to happen: there was going to be a great earthquake and it would shake the four corners of the world. Nuclear reactors would melt down and release toxic radiation. Few would survive and those who did would wish that they didn't. I let this sink in. "So, why do you work here? If there's only a few months to live, what are you doing here?"
"It's better than Uzbekistan, and I've got to eat".
Fair enough.

This was one of those conversation that I thought would quickly fade from memory. I don't think I even told Bill about it, even though it was pretty shocking - it was also insane... until this week, when the news from Japan hit. It may not quite be 2012 but it WAS the end of the world for a great many people. Can you imagine being washed out to sea and NOT thinking it was the end of the world?

I can't get the pictures of the tsunami's destruction out of my head. My dreams are of drowning, and I wake up gasping for breath. I cannot imagine the grief and heartache and utter devastation the affected must feel. And, how do you return to your home if it's destroyed AND contaminated? You don't.

We all try to go on with our days here in this area of the world as we listen in disbelief to what is happening in Japan. And we all worry if it could happen here. Guess what. It could.

As if to drive the point home today I noticed a small  figure in the gutter by my parked car: A body washed ashore. Like I needed another cosmic reminder. YES, It could happen here. Do we need anymore wake up calls?

But Bill tells me that the 2012 thing has something to do with a Mayan calendar that is totally unfounded. 
And, he reminds me about the Y2K craze that never happened. He brings me back from the edge of the abyss. Thank God for him.


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