I awoke this morning about 7, looked out the window at our acre-sized yard and was pleased to observe that our oak trees were still standing and the autumn growth of our garden still flamed in tones of red and gold, and not real fire.
No terrorists were creeping toward the house armed to the teeth (the teeth? Why the teeth?) with guns and bombs, just inches from our back porch. No Middle Eastern whispers floated in the seasonal breezes.
I felt good.
I drove through Woodland Hills and Reseda for an early appointment at a medical facility. I needed x-rays to monitor the health of my lungs, ravaged by the inroads of COPD and a recent bout with pneumonia.
No tanks or armored cars roamed the streets, rumbling through heavy traffic, their crews on the alert for evil men cloaked in ordinary garb, their gazes locked, their expressions impassive, grinding over cars and humans with impunity.
There was none of that.
It felt normal.
I approached the medical facility with caution and soon satisfied myself that it was not under siege. No half-faces peeking out over unrevealing bandanas, no nameless enemies of who we are or what we are guarding the doors.
We will not have our throats cut today. Our heads will not roll in the grimy dirt of vengeance. I was grateful.
I had the x-rays taken. The medical staff acted in an ordinary fashion. The pace was slow and careful, but they wore no face masks. Ebola did not exist here. No one died against the x-ray screen.
I stopped at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Students, writers and game players hunched over their computers or squinted at their hand-held I-somethings. Magic was in their palms, but they bitched at the gadgets whose messages worked with the speed of light but were still too slow for the kids.
The writers chased metaphors like they were butterflies that soared just out of reach.
It was as they always had. Nothing was changed. I arrived home safely, still alive. It was all that I asked. Just to be normal.