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Vietnam | Black Hawk Helicopters | September 11 | Anne Looks Squarely Into the Heart of Darkness

Originally written Dec. 19, 2008:

It’s not my intention to go to the Mekong Delta or have us jump on a Blackhawk helicopter for a joy ride just this moment. Who’s got the time or inclination to watch “Apocalypse Now”?

Now is a totally inconvenient time for thinking about the past and wondering about our future.

My new readers will wonder what the heck is happening at Anne of Carversville. One minute I’m writing about wearing a sexy thong with grommets, and now we’re in Black Hawk helicopters.

Smart Sensuality=Complex

I tell you, my friends. We Smart Sensuality women are complex birds. We hate to specialize, being such holistic thinkers. Life is not tidy and compartmentalized for us.

The older I get, I think real life is mostly grey matter, sandwiched between polarized opposing views that make for better reading. I’m trying to demonstrate that reasonable minds needn’t be dull journalism.

Perhaps writing about Somalia the other night, I’m channeling Dan Eldon again.

The truth is — as much as I want to write about fairies and sugarplums — I can’t today. My Cinderella muse left the building.

Blame it on YouTube. Blame it on my living at the World Trade Center site. Blame it on Dick Cheney. Just don’t blame me. My fingers are racing on autopilot across the keyboard.

Let’s go! This is live. No edit.

December 19, 2008

Land of the Little People

In a world struggling with grave concerns about vanished and endangered species, what pleasure we feel, learning that a new report by WWF documents rebirth in previously charred territory. Who knows. Perhaps they were alive all along.

Over 1,000 species have been newly discovered in the Greater Mekong, over the last 10 years.

These creatures aren’t disarmingly beautiful, not like the those baby lemurs born in Oct. Besides, I’ll bet those sweet lemurs can do some serious damage, when provoked or even on the hunt. Never underestimate the power or craftiness of wild animals.

Looks are deceiving.

1991 United Airlines: Bangkok to Hong Kong

Reading this story, I’m back on United Airlines. “Queen Victoria”, the flight attendants called me, and that’s the truth.

e2k PhotographyI was one of two people in First Class. This fact becomes relevant, when you envision me running from one window in the cabin to another, as our jumbo jet dropped out of the clouds to about 10,000 feet, perhaps lower.

The United captain explained that he had obtained special permission to give us a rare view of the Mekong Delta. Sailing down out of the sky in this silver marvel, I was astonished to see roads through the tree tops … and the river … god the river.

Mekong: The Delta Film

I looked out one side, then stumbled over to the left side. Amazing! My throat tightened, looking down, down, down.

Confident that the United purser couldn’t read my mind, I smiled, becoming the enthusiastic tourist … until I was choking on tears.

The pilot … who was in charge on this aircraft? How old was he? What was going through his mind? Had he been here before?

Down, down, we went still further. The village people were like ants now … poor little, bigger and bigger ants.

Reflections of the Prairie Girl

How did I get here? Me, the classical pianist … auditioned for Julliard … only seeking beauty in life, and some peace and quiet in New York. Anne, the rose-colored glasses girl, knowing full well that human nature is more complex, more dangerous, deadlier than I ever want to acknowledge.

I stared quietly into the Mekong Delta, into my formative identity … all in the comfort of a leather seat and unlimited champagne. Perhaps I am one of the chosen ones.

Into the Heart of Darkness: Apocalypse Now 1979

Unable to close my eyes, I screamed inside, watching the ecosystem below. The sounds pounded in my ears, noises I detest even now.

Why Wagner, for god’s sake! Classical music saved me. How dare you crucify my language in this way!

F—- you Coppola. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Be reasonable, Anne. This is not Cambodia; it’s Vietnam. I don’t care. It’s all the same symphony.

An Inconvenient Truth, Dec. 19, 2008

Forever now, the rest of my life, I cannot bear the sound of helicopters, a truly small inconvenience, compared to those who have served.

Black hawks fly by my window some days … if the president is in town. You note, that I always write about the ships in the harbor, never the helicopters up here with me, in my aerial laboratory.

I never liked Wagner anyway. They probably played Wagner in Auschwitz. Or Beethoven. Then I will really cry.

Cleaning Breath

Back to my environmental story, dear friends … 1000 new species … rebirth, life teaming everywhere.

How fabulous. Indo-Chinese tigers, Irrawaddy dolphins and Javan rhino living with the hot-pink dragon millipede that produces cyanide as a defense mechanism.

Is that a Zen idea?

My Tho, Vietnam (Mekong Delta)

It’s calm now in the Mekong Delta. But guess what?

Mekong Delta groundwater an endangered resource.

Have you ever read a Vietnamese newspaper? Not me. I had the International Herald Tribune in my lap, when I flew into emotional chaos, in the hands of United Airlines, 20 years after the main event.

Of course, the pilot had been in Vietnam, you silly girl. They all were … those commercial pilot guys of a certain age.

It would be another decade, before the helicopters came again for me.

September 11, 2001

The phones were out. I knew exactly what happened, when I saw the first hit.

The no-lomger-there Windows on the World RestaurantRing, ring, ring. I called my friend in Washington. No answer. Wow, we were at Windows on the World three weeks ago, before I left for London, and the walls came tumbling down.

I was alone now, standing fearless in a Jersey City window, facing south. I wore no winesappy, rose-colored glasses for this moment. We were under attack … for real.

Then I heard the sound in the distance, the drone . .. that bastardly sound that I hate. Wagner. The grinding whirl of humanity and inhumanity. I couldn’t see the smoke, the agony in the pit. I only heard the helicopters coming.

In fact the collapse had not occurred. My future home was still burning.

Wait … this is a good sound. What am I thinking! It’s a great sound. It was our guys … coming to my rescue … me and everyone else. Thank God!

Yes, it’s them … I think… . But of course it’s them.

Don’t be preposterous, Anne. Of course, it’s them. It’s your guys, not theirs. Their guys are over there … on the other side of the world.

This is New York, America. This cannot be an invasion on American soil. It’s not possible … this could not happen … I don’t think. But the towers are burning. So this is the sound… of the copters coming. Thank God, we’re spared the music.

The dreaded moment grew louder and louder, closer the whirly birds came. Yet again, I was pulled into the Apocalypse, but now I was on the ground, not a First Class cabin. All planes were grounded. No privates were available.

I put my hands over my ears, sobbing at Wagner, hating helicopters, screaming at the whole, damn mess.

Division & Derision

This is why I hate talk radio. I despise arguing and voices talking over each other. I hate small-minded people … that dreadful man who stalked me for six months, sending me a box of rope to hang myself, dead and bloody animals via delivery trucks. Calls at 3am … calling me names I cannot share with you.

He didn’t like something I said on television. It had to do with my saying “yes, I support abortion rights for women.”

I stood in the window that year, too, in the middle of the night … wondering how I would exit the house from the second floor. I would be cornered for sure, if he got in.

The masked man flew across my windshield that moonless, October night. I jammed the car in gear, roaring out of the parking lot, as he rolled off the hood. If I had a gun, would I have shot him dead, shattering glass and blood all over my beautiful sports car?

I called the lieutenant from my girlfriend’s house. My husband was out of town, and I knew not to go home.

“Sir, I might have killed him. I really don’t know. It happened at the shop, when I left for the night.”

He came to see me later … the lieutenant. It was over … the interrupter in my life gone into darkness forever.

Such an ambivalent relationship I have with men in uniform. Yet, I do believe that I’d be dead without them.

December 18, 2008

“Anne,” she said. “Go to bed. You’ve been up since 4am. What is going on this week!”

“Yes, yes. I will stop. Give me a minute, little girl.”

Wow, I just found YouTube videos of my building … last year, during the water main break. Where were these videos when I was writing my Journal?

Ah, did I even use video last December? I bet not. I didn’t understand then, the power of mixing words with pictures and live video.”

A Savage Beauty

What’s this! OMG.

“Anne, I’m telling you to go to bed. Now! I may be smaller than you, but I’m still the boss. Shut down that laptop. You will have bad dreams.”

JFC! I never saw this video. Be quiet, little sister. I must watch it one more time. This is incredible. It’s so beautiful, and then … OMG!

“That’s all Anne. Enough!”

“Light’s out. It’s not real; it’s only an animated movie, Anne. You’re really exhausted when you can’t tell the difference between Disney Land and the real deal.”

Yes, this is true. I’m very tired. So sorry, friends, but as I said in the beginning … the writing declared itself. I was only the medium.

Peach and coral are my favorite colors, even in December. I’m wearing a coral sweater right now. Very festive! And the snow stopped, too.

Just sirens now, but that’s standard operating procedure in my complicated city.

You know what … standing now, looking into evening darkness … my city below … there’s no Christmas lights out there. We always had lights in windows and on terraces.

Maybe we are Going Green after all … you know, saving energy.

Amazing! The snow stopped, and honest to God, there was just a flash of lightening … this instant. And thunder.

It’s recorded somewhere. We have cameras all over the place… for good reason. You check it out. It thundered in Battery Park at 6:24 pm, on Dec. 19, 2008, when the snow stopped.

What a crazy world!

Love, Anne

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