After 9/11 happened, I remember reading how the Pentagon assembled a bunch of Hollywood writers and directors in a secret building in L.A, to brainstorm what future terror attacks could look like. They were told to think of the craziest, most off-the-wall ideas possible. Because what the Pentagon realized, which was referred to as the “failure of imagination” theory, was that nobody in government had the imagination to have even considered an attack like an enemy using a plane as a weapon.
At the time, this just fascinated me–this “failure of imagination” theory. I became obsessed by what we weren’t imagining and made my brain work overtime. But even though I thought of dozens and dozens of horrific events–some so diabolical and easy to pull off I thought I must have lived life as torturer and spy in a past life, when last March, we started quarantine for a killer virus on the loose, a pandemic was not on my list of crazy shit. Which brings me to my major point here.
WHAT ELSE COULD BE COMING DOWN THE ROAD THAT WE’RE NOT THINKING OF?
And so, in between what is right now, and what has been for the past year (and on March 13, it will be a full year that we’ve basically been in quarantine, which is WHAT? How?), and what is an unknown future, I am going to try and embrace with full attention and gratitude, those things that I used to take for granted, and which I have missed like I miss my mom. I’m going to grab those first spring days in New England that always make me feel pure possibility, and when we can safely go to a restaurant, I’m going to listen for the beginning quiet that turns into a low buzz of laughing and talking and sipping and forks and knives hitting plates, because that sound is not just about nourishing one’s self with food, but with company. And while I always have had reverence for the way flowers sprout from cold hard soil, after a long hard winter (and by the way, any New England winter, no matter how mild, is cold and hard to me and this one was colder and harder, I’ll tell you) I may just genuflect as they petal up in their colorful clothing. I will hold the sound of a crowded beach as dear as the sound of the waves biting the shore. I will stop complaining about crowded airport lines, trying to hide my giddiness at the act of getting on a plane flight to somewhere foreign and exciting–to travel again. And I will not hold back my unadulturated joy in the ability to hug the people I love and sit with them wherever I please to talk about how much we’ve missed one another, how starved we’ve been for each.
Because as fertile as my imagination is (and I get paid for thinking of ideas, don’t forget) I know that I don’t know anything. I know that something worse could occur in the future and until then, (and hopefully there is no then), I don’t want to miss a thing.
2 thoughts on “gratitude-a-thon day 2027: failure of imagination”
I loved reading your gratitude-a-thon. While we miss all those things you wrote about, being healthy and having hope that this will soon end, and finding joy in the little things we can, do sustains me. Gratitude keeps me going. Sending warm wishes,
i cannot wait to give you a big fat italian hug! xoxooxox