There's disturbing news. Riots, financial collapse, ecological disaster, ineffectual corrupt governments, loss of personal freedoms, war, earthquakes, volcanoes . . . need I go on?
It's not here. Around me, everything looks pretty normal. There are closed business, but others are opening up. Some people I know are out of work, but most are still working. People are driving cars around. Houses still have the lights on. There's food in the grocery stores. On the surface, things are normal.
However, I've got an uneasy feeling when I look around. The first time I had this feeling was back when I was a firefighter. I'd humped a line up to the top of a four story tenement block. It was burning in the back of the top floor. Flames were visible from the road, blowing out broken back windows. Just as I was about to make my push towards the flames, the fire hose lost pressure. The city water main had failed and the pumper truck's tank had just run dry.
For a while I just hung around there, waiting to see if I'd get water again. It wasn't bad where I was. There was just a hint of smoke in the air and a sound in the near distance of crackling flames. It's a weird feeling. Things were going to hell just beyond where I was and there was nothing I could do about it. Never did get water and had to retreat through heavy smoke and heat back down the stairs. Before a new source of water could be found, the place was lost.
That feeling of being in a temporarily safe place and listening to things fall apart next door, that's how I feel listening to the news. The world's on fire, and It's just not here yet. There's wisps of smoke: unemployment, oil in the Gulf, bank bailouts, angry voters, but no real fire yet. No, not yet, but I can hear the fires crackling in the near distance.
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