What is it about the world that leaves so many girls of a certain age so darn disillusioned and unhappy or dissatisfied. Is it that the world is not beautiful enough – no scratch that. It’s naïve. The world is beautiful in many ways, but let’s face it, we do not live in beautiful times. For Kaysen, her troubled times, like our’s now, were times of war – the Vietnam war. For us, likewise, we live with the threat of war looming over us, we are told we are in a war or out of a war, yet all we know is that shit, it sure feels like war to me, because no matter how long it has been since 9/11, deep down I know that something will happen again. That for all of the safety measures in place, there will be that devious mind that will find a slender gap and will roar in like a freight train and take out thousands of people again. That we live in world where prisoners are beheaded like Nicholas Berg and that these images that I see every day on the television, on the Internet, in my newspapers and magazines, in books on the shelves. Everywhere I look I see war. Even television has become about war; there are terrorist shows, there are medical investigation teams investigation plagues and scarlet fever and the like, there are shows about terrorists who want to blow up nuclear power plants.
I used to turn to TV for relaxation and escape but, shit, now I can’t even do that for somehow, I’m told, we need these shows so that people can “work out their fears” someone said. How does this help me work out my fears? My fears are real and understandable. They are not some neurosis or made-up fantasy. We have seen awful things and know that they are possible. I grew up with terrorism and the threat of the I.R.A. every day of my life when I was a child. I had bombs going off in central London right in front of the post office building where my grandmother worked; it was a big target. My grandfather, likewise, was often working in central London, laying brick, doing construction. Car bombs went off it seemed every day, and on those days, the headmaster called me out of class and send me home and I rode the long bus and tube ride to our house and waited on the stoop and prayed my grandparents would show up, and thank god, they did. Thank god, they never once were a casualty of a bomb, but there were times when it was close, especially with my grandmother.