Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z Challenge: O is for Ordinary

Several years ago, i read about a person who went to Jerusalem as a tourist.  She reported being somewhat afraid of going, noting that the region has a reputation of being dangerous.  While there, she spoke to a native Israeli woman she saw each day at the hotel desk.

Striking up a conversation, the tourist, as best i can remember, asked the Israeli how she handled living in such a hotbed area, especially as she was married and had children.  Didn't she fear for her children's safety?

The Israeli woman responded that she was a bit concerned, but it wasn't an overwhelming thing.  She didn't let the very small possibility that something could happen ruin her life.  She noted that she would be much more afraid to live in the tourist's home town of NYC because of the terrible crime rate, which she seemed to feel was overwhelming.

The woman from New York noted that the statistics were probably out of proportion to her own individual danger, and that lots of people live there and are never victims of any kind of serious crime.  In fact, besides taking normal precautions, she seldom gave it a second thought.

What's ordinary to one might be terribly scary to another.

After 9/11, we went on high alert.  We were scared.  Security was tight everywhere for everything.  Festivals and events were cancelled.

Now, after Boston, festivals and events around the country the next day were not cancelled.  There was a little more security, but not enough to make people feel frightened or impinged upon, according to one person i heard interviewed at one such festival (and because i was listening to the radio while feeding a kitten and talking to a child at the same time, i didn't catch where it was).

Has violence become ordinary to us?  It seems that the reality of the world we live in now, that there will be violence, on a big scale, and we can't let it stop us from living our lives.

It's sad.  Like crime, like war, i don't want terrorism to seem ordinary.

Today is

American Academy of Arts and Letters Charter Day

Bat Appreciation Day

Blah, Blah, Blah Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Ebertfest/Roger Ebert's Film Festival -- Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL (Mr. Ebert selects the 12 films, introduces each, and leads discussions for general audiences as well as those in the film industry; through Sunday) Note:  Because of his passing, the fest will be held, but will be a tribute to him.

Ellis Island Family History Day

Equality Day -- Canada (the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force on April 17, 1985, guaranteeing equality without regard to race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability)

Flag Day -- American Samoa

Ford Mustang Day -- International (on the "birthday" of the vehicle)

Healthy Kids Day

Independence Day / Evacuation Day -- Syria

International Day of Peasants Struggle

International Whistlers Convention -- Louisburg, North Carolina, US ("The World's Whistling Capital"; through Sunday)

National Bookmobile Day -- US, on the Wednesday of National Library Week

National Cheeseball Day

Navpad Oli -- Jain (nine day religious festival)

Nimble Fairies' Scattering -- Fairy Calendar

Nosy Neighbor Appreciation Day -- to be celebrated, if you dare, by greeting and thanking your neighbor for being nosy

Nothing Like A Dame Day -- a day to pay homage to the unique wit, wisdom, style and strength of dames past and present, and to cultivate the dame in you or in your life

Poetry & the Creative Mind Gala -- Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York, NY, US (an extraordinary evening celebrating the role of contemporary poetry in American culture)

Sandburg Days -- Galesburg, IL, US (a festival for the mind, celebrating their two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning native son, Carl Sandburg; through Saturday)

St. Kateri Tekakwitha's Day (Patron of ecologists, ecology, environment, environmentalism, environmentalists, exiles, people who have lost their parents, people ridiculed for their piety)

St. Stephen Harding's Day (Co-founder of Cistercian Order)

Thank Your School Librarian Day -- the Wednesday of National Library Week

Thargelia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (two day festival for the birthday of Apollon and Artemis; date approximate)

Toothbrush Appreciation Day -- think of what it would be like without one!

Verrazano Day -- New York, US (Celebrates discovery of New York harbor by Giovanni Verrazano, Florentine navigator)

Women's Day -- Gabon

World Hemophilia Day

Birthdays Today:

Victoria Backham, 1974
Jennifer Garner, 1972
Liz Phair, 1967
Olivia Hussey, 1951
Harry Reasoner, 1923
William Holden, 1918
Nikita Krushchev, 1894
J.P. Morgan, 1837

Today in History:

Geoffrey Chaucer tells his Canterbury Tales for the first time, at the court of Richard II, ten years to the day after the pilgrimage actually began, 1397
Christopher Columbus signs his contract with Spain to find the Indes, 1492
Martin Luther stands firm and refuses to recant before the Diet of Worms, 1521
Sir Ralph Abercromby attacks San Juan, Puerto Rico in what would be one of the largest invasions of the Spanish territories in America, 1797
The first Sino-Japanese War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, 1895
A one day record 11,747 immigrants are processed at Ellis Island, 1907
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios is formed by the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company, 1924
Cartoon characters Daffy Duck, Elmer J Fudd & Petunia Pig, debut, 1937
At midnight, 26 Irish counties officially break with the British Commonwealth and form the Republic of Ireland, 1949
The Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco begins, 1961
Ford Motor Company unveils the Mustang, 1964
Jerrie Mock becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air, 1964
The ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft returns to Earth safely, 1970
Patriation of the Canadian constitution in Ottawa by Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, 1982
The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly ends, 1986
NJ Devil Martin Brodeur becomes the 2nd NHL goalie to score in a playoff game, 1997
The 5th Summit of the Americas takes place in Port of Spain; Trinidad, thirty-four heads of government attend, 2005


  1. it is your last seven words for me too.

  2. Life goes on. It has to, so we just get used to danger and forge on. Everywhere has its dangers, they just seem to change a lot.

    I will certainly be appreciating bats today.

  3. We can't let fear rule us, yet we should never forget. Great post.
    Jess/ Blogging on the Brink

  4. I don't want terrorism to be ordinary either, but when I listen to my 10 year old talk about bombs exploding at sporting events, gunmen shooting people at grocery stores, movie theaters, and stores, buildings falling down, the reality is undeniable. Maybe it isn't ordinary, but it is unfortunately something young people are coming to expect in their world. That makes me profoundly sad.

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  7. I find it remarkable that terrorists think they can influence America through terrorism, which only serves to bind us together to confront such evil.

  8. I keep hearing the term "new normal". Which usually means the old normal was comfortable. The new normal is not. But I was talking to someone who said, "now I am nearly afraid to go to various events, I don't know what will happen." Meh. I will go to events. Ordinary, for me, is doing what I do. As your blog shows, ordinary and terrifying is as much in the eye of the beholder as in the actual threat.


  9. My son is studying abroad..before he left I was asking him about the crime rates etc in the places where he was going to ..he explained that if someone from Switzerland looked at the crime rates of Americian cities they would never go there, and yet we know they are safe...ha, he was wrong. This tragedy is so unbelievable to me...can't really think of much else. It is scaring me!

  10. Miz, i know you get it.

    Shell, we will go on, i just wish it could be with peace, as we all do.

    Jess, it's yet another to not forget, it's sad they are becoming so numerous.

    Tim i agree, it's something i wish they didn't have to expect.

    Stephen, you are right -- people seldom give in to force if they can help it in any way.

    Cat, i will go, too, because otherwise the horrible people win.

    Annmarie, we have to stay strong and remember the good people outnumber the bad, here and elsewhere.

  11. Sadly, sometimes i think it is ordinary. But there are also so many genuinely good people in our world. Thank goodness. I'm heartsick over what happened in Boston. I'm counting my blessings, but at the same time, i don't want the bad feeling to go away. I know on the one hand, it's life as usual for most of us, but that seems wrong somehow. To feel happy, to me anyway, seems wrong, because then i've accepted what happened... hard to explain..