Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kabul Conference

(written in a 'net-less house yesterday, an account of the Kabul Conference as it appeared to residents of the city, rather than foreign diplomats).

The house today takes on the character of a hospital waiting room - the tense boredom permeating every thought, the paralysis of endless sitting, the vigil unknowing whether the patient will pull through, whether the security will hold. I remember this same toe-tapping quiet from four years ago, thoughts pacing over and over the wish that my mother's surgeon would walk through the door to tell he'd repaired her spine and that I could see her soon. Those worn prayers brought good news, and so today I return to habit, repeating a mantra of "let the conference end soon; let the city remain peaceful," with every helicopter passing overhead.

My roommate's Collected Stories of Richard Yates pass the time, as does forcing myself to make tomato sauce from scratch for a simple pasta lunch. By mid-afternoon, even the steady rhythm of washing my scarves feels like escape from the stifling nothingness in the shaded salon - and the prospect of another roommate's Lindsey Lohan DVD (the only thing at the corner shop not dubbed in Hindi) begins to seem more like entertainment than torment.

Finally, the periodic droning becomes a steady procession until one chopper passes so low the windows all rattle. Wishing the departing dignitaries their own safe travels, the knot in my solar plexus begins to unwind - it will be a quiet night.

(The New York Times suggests sightseeing the conference participants missed and details security procedures - including blocking pedestrian access - in the city.)

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