Odd conversation today with a friend from Michigan. I'm making a second stab at getting my visa for China and she suggested just calling her if they reject me again and she will put me on the line with someone on her end who could speak to the person I was dealing with at the consulate. Which sounds great, except that there are no cell phones allowed in the consulate. "Well do they take them away?" she asks. Well, no, they don't, but I'm thinking, (a) I'm on foreign soil, and I should probably obey the rules of the country I'm in as flouting them is not going to endear me to anybody, (b) there are American security guards and they do more than just x-ray your bag, and (c) I say, "they do come over and hassle you if you're using one, because they did when I was there the other day. Security people are all kinda jumpy here," I sez. "Jumpy? Why?" sez friend. "You know, 9/11 and all that?" I reply. "9/11? Really? Cuz we're kinda over that here," sez friend.
And I'm thinking, that's because it didn't happen to you, it happened to us. People in my Michigan home town were rushing to the pumps to hoard gasoline while we were watching our city burn and counting our dead. And there are still people here who would like to blow parts of our city up.
And I'm reminded once again that the midwest is another world, and how much things have changed here since 9/11 that haven't touched other parts of the country.