questions that can’t be answered

Either the days are lengthening or I’m leaving campus earlier: Either way, I’m rediscovering the pleasure of riding in the light. Fading light, to be sure, but the world is filling with glancing things (reflections in the windows of a tour bus, the sunset off glazed windows, so on).

Coming through Beverly Hills, though, I came up on traffic: San Vicente backed up with cars trying to turn left onto Sixth; Sixth thick with traffic stuck in a single lane with nowhere to go. A news helicopter overhead. All of which didn’t bother me too much: Sidle into the left lane, make my turn, work my way a little more slowly through traffic.

But somewhere along the way, I realized the traffic was due to the protests outside the Israeli consulate in Mid-Wilshire. A well-dressed pair of young women were speaking to a passing car, one of them holding a hand-drawn poster with Free Palestine written across a flag. I thought for a moment about turning south and riding by, at least making a gesture of my support, but I couldn’t muster the energy. I wanted to go home, to drop my bag, make dinner with my girlfriend, take a shower, sleep.

And it’s not as though the events in Gaza haven’t been on my mind: More that I can’t muster up the enthusiasm to think that what I do in a protest matters, that I can’t quite trust myself to care enough. And even so: A fellow student was asked in class today how she was. Sad, she told the teacher, my husband’s whole family is in Gaza. Moments like that cast a new light on politics and demonstration. This is not about places on the map or about pictures on a television screen: It is about families at risk.

And yet I rode home, wrote this, and am sitting down to dinner soon. What to do when you ask questions of yourself that you don’t particularly want to answer?


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