Thursday, September 08, 2005

Charmaine Neville, Some Girl Needing a Light, and Irony

(September 07, 2005) -- Every time you think you've heard it all about the horrors of New Orleans in the past week, something like Charmaine Neville's experience comes around the bend, or the blog, and smacks you over the head like a club. It's a story of dead babies in the water, alligators eating people, heroism (she commandeered a bus to save dozens) and despair.

From Editor & Publisher

I had a girl ask me today, after overhearing a portion of my conversation with someone, tell me she was so sorry for me.

"You should dump that girl Katrina...she sounds like trouble. Gotta light?"

I thought she was making a joke. Turns out she hadn't heard a thing about Katrina - hadn't watched the news since classes started back up, hadn't picked up a newspaper, and only listens to her iPod when she wants to hear music.

Knew Scarlett Johansson was on the cover of Cosmo, though. And she thought the hurricane couldn't be all that bad - the government would get things going again.

Told her about the evacuees. Homes lost. Dead folks rotting in the sun, bodies popping from gases building up, outbreaks of strange diseases, and the fact that my alma mater is now home to field hospitals, scared undergrads like herself, and the sheer amount of history lost.

She just blinked, big hazel eyes fluttering beneath overcoated eyelashes.

Tugged at her popped collar with "preppie" embroidered across the neck.

"'ll get better. The government always fixes things. Always. Except gas. You know its like $3 a gallon? Wonder what caused that?"

Then she gave me her number. Said to call her tonight- maybe we could hook up this weekend. Said I seemed like a nice guy.

That number went into the trash.

I'm too nice of a guy to get picked up by someone who's sense of reality revolves around getting her news from Cosmo.


G said...

Mass media, man. Perpetrating a culture of ignorance. Which is, of course, bliss. For the idiots, that is.

Sounds a lot like SRKS - spoiled rich kid syndrome. One of the reasons I chose not to pursue academic librarianship was the kids at Western (a notorious rich kids Uni. in Ontario). If my raised-poor ass had to work around those ignorant/arrogant jackasses everday, I'd wind up in the bell tower with a rifle and more than a couple bottles of Mount Gay in no time.

It's those kids who've never had it bad in life, never seen what real tough times are, never known what it's like to have both parents unemployed, b&w antenna TV that works some of the time, a car that never runs and the term 'new clothes' meaning goodwill shops. We lived through it, and I remember my folks doing with a smile.

The SRKs, though? Fucking TIVO goes out, or their cellphone battery dies, and their lives are over. And God forbid, if one like, looks a half a pound heavier than Mischa Barton this week - dear lord, the world would come to an end!!!

renee said...

This is a great blog, and it seems like you're doing a lot of great work. Don't let miami get you down (I know that's hard). I find these kids that don't even know anything about what's happening almost worse than the ones making jokes (which you posted about a few days ago). At least you took the time to tell this woman what was going on (even if you didn't get through).

Stay hopeful if you can.

Ogbuefi Stephi said...

shit like that really pisses me off. i can't believe the ignorance of some people. over on western, we've been doing our best to raise money and awareness of the issue and to do our part in helping victims.
it just makes me really sad to see how the whole thing is being dealt with. what is happening to our world?