I'm sorry I just can't do it.
I can't watch the tv news anymore. I can't listen to the radio. I can't even read some of my favorite blogs without a swift pre-scan for references to world events. Part of my brain has just shut down and says "No - you can't cope with this. It is all out of your control. And if the end of the world is nigh, well... goodbye world."
The trigger was definitely the television footage from an airport in Japan, where a wall of water was approaching a building. FL had the sound turned off, as usual, but for some inexplicable reason he chose that moment to un-mute it and my ears were filled with the sound of genuine panic, fear, mounting hysteria. It was too immediate. It was the sound of people who knew they were about to die. And there was nothing I could do about it. Absolutely nothing.
Yesterday in her language class at school, my daughter was asked to speak in German about her ideal shopping experience. So she looked up all the words she needed to describe a trip to Japan: all the wonderful clothes / shoes / stationery / Studio Ghibli items to be found in various cities and how she would travel from place to place. Her teacher was NOT pleased. To talk about shopping in Japan is apparently "offensive". On one level, I can understand where her teacher is coming from - oh, how shallow it is to talk about shopping when people are dying! True. But who asked her to talk about shopping in the first place?! And was it not an opportunity to talk about what might be lost to the world if an entire culture is razed to the ground by disasters natural and man-made? Nien. Verboten. Tell me about going into Aberdeen on a Saturday afternoon to buy a Justin Bieber CD. As if!
I have a recurring dream about wandering through a city that is a composite of all the places I have ever lived. Sometimes it is a desolate place with ruined buildings and people huddled round camp-fires, scavenging for food. The toilets are always blocked. I am looking for friends from the past, people I have lost. I dream about this place so often that it is entirely familiar to me. I am resigned to my wanderings. It is made better by knowing that every time I go looking for someone in my dreams, I do find comfort - not always where I expect it - and I have often woken up thinking I need to make more human connections, so that I have somewhere to go when I lose what I have now.
FL is doing OK. He has now added an antibiotic, an anti-fungal, paracetamol and a laxative to his daily diet of pills. The kitchen table is home to a teetering mound of pharmaceuticals. He went golfing yesterday... which means he is basically "fine". But I have a growing sense of unease, a feeling that reality is coming too close to my bad dreams.
So I am sorry - I need to change the channel right now. I need to absorb myself in a world of creativity: literature, fabric, yarn, music. I can't cope with the bigger picture.