What was I doing when I learned Bin laden had been killed? Reading an email to prepare for my trip to Peru. Sort of.
I was indeed reading emails in the few minutes I had after breakfast and before being cabbed to Dayton’s Public Health Center. A message from the Mumbai ACS (American Consulate Services) sat in my personal email inbox. This isn’t a common occurrance. In fact, since having signed up for any terror or health warnings (or whathaveyou) with the ACS when replacing my stolen passport in Mumbai last year, I’ve been impressed not only with the professional verbiage and tone but also the failure of the ACS messages to raise panic. Typically the messages warn against visiting certain parts of India (such as the neighborhood of Kashmir and the border of Pakistan) for disease outbreaks or potential terror threats. Having steered clear of these areas both times in India I’ve never been concerned, though I do like to read them, especially if I’m traveling within the country. This time, however, the message line was all in caps: WORLD WIDE TRAVEL ALERT. It was at this time I realized the value of the emails’ tone, tenor, register. It occurred to me that perhaps I should look at this. Why would my Mumbai ACS email contain a worldwide alert? They’re not riot inciters. I opened it to read this:
‘The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to the enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan… This Travel Alert expires August 1, 2011.’
My interest piqued and I turned on MSNBC, barely thinking of how it might impact next month’s departure to Peru. There it was, clear as day: Bin laden was dead. I admit my eyes did well up but not enough to actually fall down my cheeks. What a boon! Almost as soon, however, I realized that this really didn’t mean much. I recall where I was when Hussein was captured. I remember where I was when the Towers were bombed. None of this country’s self-professed accomplished missions will end terrorism.
I then shifted my attention to the tasks at hand: preparing for my PHD round of immunizations. On today’s menu was a first of three shots for hepatitis B, one for typhoid (my previous typhoid immunization wears off next month; nothing like timing, eh?), another shot for hepatitis A, and finally one for yellow fever. Melissa, the administrator of these injections was quick and relatively painless. I kept her laughing, which somehow takes the pressure off my loathe of shots. Stick stick stick. The thin needles pinched my bicep fast as lightning. By the time she was finished and I pulled my blouse back on, the pain she’d said I could take Advil for had crept into my arms. I kept fanning them around as she’d suggested, but it’s three hours later and now the pain’s grown to a thud. It’s also exhausting. She didn’t warn me about that. I’ve got so much writing to do it’s difficult to fathom not sitting here for another four hours as I did yesterday. If I continue to write, however, I might start writing drugged out stuff about Bin laden, who’s dead. I’ll worry, for right now, about finishing this blog, placing my next hep B shot on my calendar, and being tankful that it was under Obama’s watch that the US could claim the demise of the world’s leading terrorist. It’s not likely I’ll forget by accidentally falling asleep where I was when the news came around.
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-24577805-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);