Monday, September 13, 2004

Boy, there's so much stuff out there to distract one from the actual grieving.

And I don't just mean shows like Pimp My Ride on MTV or Globe Trekker on the Discovery Channel. I've never watched them before - but this weekend they proved extremely useful in helping me laugh without any second thoughts. Speaking of the TV, I was quite amazed to learn that one of the Russian channels (can't remember which one right now) was showing Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark late Friday night. I saw it in 2001, loved it - but if someone asked me to choose between watching it now and spending the night out in the street, I'd happily pick the latter. Then again, many of us here prefer drinking to watching TV on Friday nights anyway - and drinking is very therapeutic in times like these - so I'm sure only a few people faced the dilemma of whether to subject themselves to von Trier's intellectual torture or to stick to the normal drinking routine.

Other potential distractions include:

- pretending North Osetia is some tiny, God-forgotten country that has no relation whatsoever to Russia (one Russian friend finds this helpful; doesn't work for me - perhaps because I'm a Ukrainian and much of Russia, including North Osetia, has little, or way too much, to do with Ukraine, depending on how you look at it... no, this doesn't make sense... I guess it's more about how one's imagination works, how far one can stretch one's imagination in times of trouble);

- spending more time cooking wonderful things (as another friend of mine recommended; well, I need huge inspiration to be able to cook at all, and this weekend there wasn't much of it, but I'm not discarding this advice - I acquired a very pretty tea set yesterday, which makes us feel so much more at home, and that was a good start in that direction, I hope);

- making babies (this was the second recommendation of this dear friend of mine; I don't know - it's very difficult to think of having kids of your own when so many other people's kids have just been killed in such a horrible way; but then I'm reminded of the NYC baby boom in the wake of 9/11, and maybe there is some logic to it after all...);

- taking the brand new and somewhat controversial 48-hour train from Moscow to Sukhumi, Abkhazia, and writing about it (that's an option suggested by an editor friend; it was more of an assignment, actually, which I'm not able to take because of my foreigner status in this country; very upsetting because I love writing about trains).

Besides all this, there are papers to read, an incredible cacophony of political pronouncements, and I hope to write a little bit more about what I've managed to make out of it later tonight. But yes, reading has been very therapeutic - even though a prerequisite for such reading has been a note stored in the back of my mind: remember the images of the kids, remember the pain you've been through and remember the pain people in Beslan are still experiencing, and then, every now and then, place the stuff you're reading in the context of this pain and see if some of it is maybe capable of soothing some of this pain, of mending some of what's been ruined, of preventing something similar from happening again...

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