One Year / One Decade

Thurs. 03.11.21 – Today, a number of folks online – be it in blogs or on news sites – are reflecting on one year of Covid in the US. I read many of these, but it was Volcano Cafe’s post on the 10 year anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake and the current status of two volcanoes in the Fukushima area that really got me. I cried.

Ten years ago today, I woke up quite cheerful for the start of SXSW Interactive 2011 and then went down to breakfast at the Hampton Inn. The sight that greeted me was Cindy Li and Matt Harris standing watching TV coverage of the tsunami hitting Fukushima, Sendai, and surrounds. Cindy was horrified and she was crying.

As soon as my brain (today) formed the mental image of water inundating and then dragging everything back into the sea that was on the breakfast area TV and the look on Cindy’s face, I burst into tears.

2011 was the last SXSW I attended. The world changed on that Eleventh day of March 2011. More than just the tsunami that melted a nuclear plant, but also the big movements of the Arab Spring, ISIS/Syria, Nokia being consumed by Microsoft, Facebook & social media breaking democracies by spreading lies and disinformation, the populist movements that ended with Trump, Modi, and Bolsonaro, etc.

In my little world, in late March 2011 my best grandma died. She truly was the glue who held a very large extended family together. Early July 2011 after returning from Abhi & Sudha’s wedding & visiting CJ in Delhi, I visited Urgent Care for a bad bout of black mold allergy induced anaphylaxis and many hundreds of hives all over my body, which started a dark seven year personal allergy journey of an immune system out of control.

In June 2016, Cindy Li called me. I was at my Mom’s house. It was a lovely day. Cindy and I talked for nearly two hours. Cindy was in her seventh or nearly eighth month of her second pregnancy and the most recent ultrasound discovered cancer on her internal organs. The doctors would induce labor as soon as it was safe for the baby and then would wheel her into surgery to take out as much of the cancer as possible.

In May of 2017, in our whirlwind road trip of the US, Belle le Cane and I stopped by to visit Cindy, Matt, and the boys. Cindy slipped away in Oct. 2018 and we celebrated her life in Washington D.C. in March of 2019. That was the last time I saw all my friends from the SXSW years of 2005 – 2011 as a group.

It is good to cry for friends and family and for a whole world lost, not just this past year of Covid but also of the last decade.

The past year was just all the shit distilled down to a concentrated essence and fed to everyone, not just a few who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The future is now and the shit got distributed.

While I am not Catholic, today I prayed an 11th Century Anglo-Saxon (Catholic) prayer for the dead. For Cindy Li, for Jeremy Callis, for Belle le Cane, for all the Covid dead, for all the earthquake, tsunami, and war dead. For the death of our hopes.

When the time for tears is over, it will be time for us to hope again.