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You Can't Even Remember What I'm Trying to Forget
by noteworthy at 9:47 pm EST, Dec 26, 2004

We have all heard. We have listened, gasped, and formed ourselves new lives.

Or not.


"I don't have a cell phone," I said.

Seven cell phones, handed to me from all directions, dropped in my lap.


They call this a ferry flight. We are in uniform, but there are no passengers. This means anything goes. A pilot pretends to do the safety announcement. Another pilot pretends to do a drink service, tossing us cans of coke and water. The pilots take off with the cockpit door open. A flight attendant holds onto the front seats, standing on a safety information card. The plane tips upward on take-off and he slides, laughing, to the back of the plane. We do not wear our seatbelts.


"It takes so little, so infinitely little, for a person to cross the border beyond which everything loses meaning: love, convictions, faith, history. Human life -- and herein lies its secret -- takes place in the immediate proximity of that border, even in direct contact with it; it is not miles away, but a fraction of an inch."


People say to me, "Whatever it takes." I tell them, It's going to take everything. And still I see a woman in row four, cutting an apple. With a four-inch knife.


She tells me she's ready. She may be small, she says, but she's mean. She outlines her plans for fending off terrorists. She says, "I kind of hope something happens, you know?"

She wears an American flag pin on the lapel of her blazer. She sits on the jump seat, waiting for her life to change.


As absolutely as we need the ordinary tasks of living -- the post office, the grocery store, food and sleep -- we need just as much the extraordinary: to destroy complacency and ignorance, to give us the chance to make something new. Or maybe just to remind us that nothing is ever ordinary.

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