redefining surreal

Everybody’s going to be blogging about the Virginia Tech murders today, and I hate to be another person in a sea of voices talking about the same thing.  But if something else was bigger news in my life right this second, I’d blog about that instead.

Whenever some real tragedy occurs, I have trouble processing it because I’m so accustomed to seeing fake tragedies in the movies and on TV.  It took days to convince myself that what I was seeing on TV back in 2001 was real.  It seemed like too much of a catastrophe of Hollywood proportions to be real.  This is an event of smaller scale, but still a cause for a temporary slow-down of my processing facilities.  It seems so picturesquely awful that I can’t fathom it being anything other than a very realistic horror flick.

There’s already a media maelstrom going on, hysteria in the air, and fingers being pointed.  But at the end of the day I couldn’t shake how weird it was that I had to IM my sister on a Monday morning just to see whether or not she was able to avoid the hail of gunfire emanating from a gun-wielding madman on her campus.  It’s just something I didn’t think I’d have to worry about.  Even then, when we thought the death toll was only 1 person, we joked casually about crazed murderers being exactly the reason why you should never skip breakfast — because you get locked down in your classroom for a couple of hours and by the time you get out, breakfast is way over.  You never know what can happen, so you better eat breakfast.  A true statement, but now rendered extraneous.

And being thankful that my sweet, adorable sister wasn’t gunned down on her way to English class is a strange feeling…it’s something I never thought I’d have to be thankful for.  You end up focusing on the most bizarre things…like what I would say about my sister if she hadn’t made it.  “She was seriously the nicest, most friendly person you’d ever meet.”  Yeah, that’s what everyone says about their dead little sisters.  Except with mine, it’s true.  She really has the sweetest temperment ever known.  How do you bring that across in some tear-filled interview?  How could you make strangers understand and value her relentlessly bubbly personality?  How can they know the absolute optimism and pluck she exudes when dealing with her biggest of traumas?  It’s all relative.  We lionize people as soon as they are gone.  Everybody thinks their sister is the biggest asset to the human race that ever lived.  Except with me, I’m telling you…it’s true!  It’s true.

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4 thoughts on “redefining surreal

  1. No, I tell you, It’s not true. My sister is! no my sister is! no my sister is!
    Meanwhile Meghan is exuding pluck, Claire is rolling around on the floor screaming at people. The thought of having a normal sister is almost too much to bear.

    Good old Dixon I am so happy to know that you are safe and sound. I can’t wait to sing Disney songs with you around the Dixon family dinner table.

  2. I’ve found myself saying the same thing about my cat Jingles. She really had the sweetest temperment of all cats I’ve ever met, not only with humans but also with other cats. And I found myself at a loss to express how it feels and how awesome she was to me and all the other animals in her life. She was the bravest little cat, but the words just don’t convey and if you never met her, well that’s that.

    After the first shooting in the morning I was reminded of that odd August day this past summer when I happened to be stopping in Blacksburg on my trip home from Bloomington. Great opportunity to get off the road, see friends, and get some rest. But that morning there had been a gunman on the loose shooting people. My friends had known him even and everyone was a bit uneasy, even after his capture. So that’s what happens in Blacksburg these days, gunmen on the loose.

    I made a call to my closest friends there and they were thankfully ok, out of harms way. I’m glad your sister is ok as well. I just attended a vigil at the Seigel Center. And I’ve been speaking to my friends who used to go to Va Tech. It’s still a little hard for me to relate to them, but I try to be there. The student deaths are just as sad as the daily civilian and military deaths in Iraq everyday. I’m glad for the people in Blacksburg, there is at least the comfort that this was an event out of context and the residents and students there should feel (relatively) safe after the shooter was shot (by himself?). Unfortunately there is no equal comfort in many other places.

    I wish the best for all those affected by that shooting and all the other attrocities we face everyday. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here; hope you don’t mind me adding mine.

  3. Yo it’s Megan, without the H, Hoch. Get with it.

    Yeah Michael, thanks for commenting! I love Blacksburg too. As small of a town it is, and as many people there are there constantly parading around town in sweatsuits, I always have a good time there. Although I haven’t been there in about four years. I was going to try to visit my sister sometime this spring, but maybe that’ll have to wait.

    I still haven’t heard from my sister since Monday morning. I’m sure she’s sick of talking about it, but I just want to know that she’s doing okay and she’s hanging out with her friends. Or on her way home. Last night my cousin called to see how she was taking everything, and I’m like “Actually…I have no idea. I guess she’s fine, or as fine as she can possibly be.”

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