Sunday, June 27, 2010

Life during wartime

I've taken to walking the mile or so down to a local coffee shop in the afternoons to work and watch world cup. Atlanta is hot this June, well above ninety by mid-day most days. I am almost always the only one moving about outside. The air is heavy with damp, I can see it, hazy and blue, hanging between me and the tops of the tall pine trees that trace the property lines in this upscale suburb. The haze mutes the grey-green lines of the military cargo planes, rendering them smudgy and seemingly insubstantial as they rumble by, languid and pregnant, on final approach to the Air Force plant in Marietta.

They are a reminder that, all these years later, the war is still hiring. I have two friends with the occupation now, both civilian contractors. I got a birthday card from Kuwait. A product of Hallmark Dubai festooned with rainbow camels and minarets. My department chair sent around a request for people to work on a data visualization job that looks to be connected to the Human Terrain System. I'd love for her to ask me to participate, so I could say something like "I'm afraid my conscience doesn't permit me to participate in the war effort," and feel brave but I'm sure she won't. They will get volunteers. Really, I'm not at all certain my refusal would do anything but lend me an undeserved sense of moral purity. I drive a car. I pay my taxes. I voted for Obama. I'm as complicit in this thing as anybody.

Not sure I'm going anywhere with this. Just saying hello to my two remaining readers.

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