Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Tuesday
    Oct042005

    Tears

    "But when you say goodbye, say it as if you are reaching through the phone and holding their hand. Let them know that if they let go of that hand, you will die. We must shame them into sending help."-Hotel Rwanda

    I was in the mood for some movie watching, perhaps a little Don Cheadle. Normally I would get my fix by watching popping in Ocean's 11 and 12 and getting a little 'Basher'. But this time, I decided to go for serious and revered Don Cheadle; how about Hotel Rwanda? Nothing gets a Saturday night going like tales of genocide. I'm not a big crier and I haven't done so in awhile, even though as of late I've been plagued by a bout of melancholy.

    There's something about crying in public that is always seen as being weak. My parents aren't all too emotional, the first time I ever saw my father cry was this past June. He had just began recovering from a terrible spinal infection and heart infection. We were talking and he just started to cry. I sat across from him and did nothing, while I watched a normally loud and at times terrifying 60 year old man, cry.

    When Paul and Gregoire are driving back to the hotel after getting supplies, they hit a rough patch in the road. They are driving close to a river and Paul fears that they're heading down a cliff towards the water and that Gregoire will crash into it, so he demands that the vehicle is stopped. He gets out of the car, into the fog. The fog slowly clears out and he realizes that they've just been driving over hundreds and hundreds of dead bodies. Bodies of people that had been massacred and left for dead in the road. Paul throws up in his own hands and returns to the car and tells Gregoire to never tell anyone of what they just saw.

    I was in tears. They had been building for the entire movie, but I had been babysitting and you can't cry while a seven year old is upstairs watching Sponge Bob. At first it was just a few streaming tears then they progressively got worse. Worse because Paul left Tatiana in the caravan because he couldn't leave all of the rest of the refugees at the hotel. Worse because Paul thought that Tatiana had jumped off the roof of the hotel with their children. And worse, though tears of happiness, when Tatiana found her brother's children and they were able to leave for Belgium.

    I ended up crying so much that when the parents returned home, I could barely look at them in the face, for fear that they'd notice my red eyes and perpetually runny nose. By then I thought it would stop though, I suppose I just needed a good cry. It's been something that has been building up for the past six months. It wasn't just about genocide, which in itself is awful and horrific, but also because I needed something powerful to bring on the tears. I needed something to make me cry about my feelings of shitiness about every fucking thing. I cried because in comparison to what I had just watched, nothing was that bad, I cried because I felt badly about crying.

    Yup, I had finally I gotten what I was looking for and what I needed at this particular moment. A good cry. Now if only I can find something to make it stop…
    Monday
    Oct032005

    Random Acts of Kindness

    Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

    Sundays have typically been the same over the past month or so. Run errands, pick up a little. I keep my car downtown with me on the weekends and then return it to Tenleytown around 2 ish, so that I can be guaranteed to find a parking spot.

    On this particular Sunday, I spotted two young men who had just been walking seated on the curb. I parked and started walking back up the street, when one of the young men stopped me and asked if I was going to be driving up towards Georgetown.
    "No"
    "Ok, I was just wondering. We're waiting for a cab, because I've twisted my ankle." For the record, even when he said this, thoughts of 'well he could be a serial killer and/or rapist' never entered my mind. My only thought was damn, if I move my car now, will I be able to find a parking spot later. And shit, I might miss my bus.
    I guess I was feeling particularly nice and knew that in that particular area, it would take them a year to find a cab. I retrieved my car and picked them up.

    We got to chatting on the way up. These two young men, Morgan-the one who had twisted his ankle- and Johnny-his brother; were both from New Orleans. Upon learning this I had to physically restrain myself for staring and saying things like "Holy shit do you still have a house" and "Where are your parents??". That would be rude. I just stared straight ahead and noticed how calm and collected and genuinely thankful they both were. Johnny attended Georgetown and Morgan had been attending law school at Tulane. Morgan moved up to DC to live with Johnny and to take the semester off. He said that, Tulane was operating under the impression that they would reopen by next semester. I just nodded and smiled.

    Finally I dropped them off, both eternally grateful that I was so kind to pick them up and bring them down to Georgetown. The entire way home, all I could think of was how "normal" they were. Terrible, I know. But how do you 'survive' such devastation and act like everything is fine and normal? Of course I didn't know their entire story and although my curiosity was piqued, I couldn't just jump out and ask them something like that. My assumption is that they were probably just grateful for everything that had come their way in the past month. Grateful that they had somewhere to stay and that a stranger was willing to perform-even the smallest-random act of kindness.
    Monday
    Oct032005

    Happy Monday

    "Looks like somebody's got the case of the Mondays"

    I'm writing this to remember how miserable I am right now...

    I've been yelled at today, I've cried, and I've just bought my first pack of cigarettes since May.

    Man I'm on a roll...