Saturday, April 05, 2003

Baking Time

E. and I have both been sick this week, consecutively. So today we're at home and it's a slate-gray Saturday afternoon. I've been to yoga and had a pedicure and bought milk and eggs. Now, in an effort to make the house a little cheerier, I'm making cookies.

For some reason I'm listening to NPR, which is unlike me. But the novelty is kind of entertaining. While I'm assembling the ingredients I listen to a story about a documentary made earlier this year featuring Iraqi and American teenagers in a series of dialogues. One Iraqi kid says he gets most of his ideas about American life from the movies. An American tries to tell him that the movies aren't really representative, that real life is much less interesting. It looks like we'll have enough flour.

During the mixing I listen to a series of reports from the front. The U.S. has made a "foray" into Baghdad, whatever that means. The American military representatives speak in the broad, southern-toned accents of my in-laws. They don't sound nervous. I think about my friend in Colorado who says thousands of soliders who live in her town are gone: deployed. I hope they'll be all right. Fortunately the butter has softened sufficiently.

I think about how fast this war has blown up. When we talked about it in September at Coit Tower in SF it seemed surreal, like a joke. It couldn't actually happen. Even more surreal: my uncle writes to me that he is now participating in peace vigils in his city. "Your mother writes that you've demonstrated against the war," he says. "Keep up the good work." It was so cold that day. They are demonstrating here again today, but we aren't there. It's almost as cold today.

It's baking time and the kitchen has turned into a mini-production center. E. asks, "Approximately how many minutes until there's cookies?" Well, that's classified.

We're cranking now on the cookies and the soldiers sound optimistic. It sounds like the news is good today. I wonder: Will we win and what happens then? Will it be like D-Day, with everyone running in the streets? But the wars these days are never really over, are they? And will we have another? How do we stop this?

Washing up the cookie sheets I listen to a profile of an Iraqi expatriate living in America now. She was recently visited by the FBI who wants to know what her relatives back at home are up to these days. The program records her talking on the telephone to her brother in Iraq. She sounds so happy; I'd like to have had a brother. She asks him if he has any message for her guests (the interviewer, I guess). The only words he knows in English are "Thank you." She translates that as "Thank you for coming to liberate Iraq."

In the desert more people are dying. I still have some French homework to do. E. is in his chair reading The Mandarins. The house is quiet and it's still light outside. I turn off the radio. We are waiting.
(Crossposted at Bells and Whistles)

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