Sunday, September 04, 2005

blogger clogger

Among the more trivial aspects of this disaster in New Orleans is the blog explosion. It's never taken so long just to get blogger.com to connect (5-10 minutes, which isn't awful but unusual). Victims and relatives, volunteers and organizers have flooded the blogger ranks. It is the present-day ham radio.

What a fucking mess. First of all, let's just worry about slamming the powers-that-be for mishandling this situation (to whatever degree) later. As much as I think W is a horse's ass, I can't get behind those who want to hang him for this...not now, not here in Houston. We need to get all these people cots, food and clean underwear...and figure out how they can survive for the next three months. Then, we can blast whoever deserves to be blasted for not doing their part.

Yesterday, along with thousands or tens of thousands (the numbers cease to adequately convey the image of that many people in one place) volunteers, we went to the convention center here in Houston to join in the relief effort. If you combined all the Bennetton, United Way and public television advertisements, you might begin to represent the array of humanity volunteering there.

Side-by-side we worked (and Barb & I were only there for about five hours). A human chain passing box, bag or basket of every imaginable donation. We helped move a mountain of donations from the curbside into the huge exhibit hall where countless volunteers sorted the mountains into clothing, bedding, toiletries, etc. so other volunteers could distribute them to refugees. Which cleared a space for the next mountain.

Here is a description of the panoply* of regular people in, or visible from, our small section of the chain:

  • Asian man, mid-twenties. Pearl stud in his nose piercing. Hair in a single braid down his back.
  • Very tall, dark-skinned black queen. Funny, irreverent and hard-working. Slinging items into the huge pile while keeping an eye out for good-looking men.
  • Middle-aged church-going couples from the suburbs. Portly, quiet and diligent.
  • Young, pretty black woman–maybe late teens or early twenties. Many grown women stepped back from the heavier packages and let the men handle them. Not this one.
  • A boy, about 10 years old, working alongside his dad.
  • Hispanic teenagers in their low-rider pants.
  • Men of Indian or Pakistani descent ferrying bags across the street.
  • Older white men and women, straining a bit with the effort.
  • Folks here on vacation.
  • People who had planned a New Orleans vacation and ended up here instead.
  • Women in burkhas driving up with donations.
  • Wealthy white socialites in coordinated casualwear.
  • Middle-aged lesbians in their sensible shoes.
And I wasn't looking for the feel-good liberal image. That's just how it all shook out.

*lovely word: panoply n A splendid or striking array.

1 comment:

Risa said...

i'm glad you're my mom