Until this month, I probably wouldn't have noticed them.
Even a few weeks after Sept. 11th, I wouldn't have allowed such a suspicion
any chance of fertile ground. But, news junkie that I am, I've been reading
everything available, sitting through the almost endless PBS Frontline
documentaries attempting to supply the curious with a context for an anxious
new world, and the seeds of fear have, perhaps inevitably, found soil enough
According to some intelligence experts, Canada is an attractive destination for international terrorists because of our liberal immigration laws, and a low-key society that discourages suspicion of the newcomers that, as everyone here knows, make our somewhat chilly, insecure country livable. According to the right-wing press, it's these perniciously liberal laws -- and the governments that wrote them -- who made us as culpable
as the Taliban from the moment the first airliner hit the first tower.
There's real irony in the thought that a terrorist would be attracted to
exactly the kind of society he wants to destroy. There's a darker irony
that some people want to dismantle that society in the name of protecting
it. This kind of irony I can live without.
I'm sure these young men have become used to the hairy
eyeball, have developed a blandly silent manner in public, in the hopes
of attracting no more attention than necessary, regardless of my incipient
paranoia. Of course, it's all to likely that one of them is here for the
same reason I am, weeks away from a wedding, faintly amazed that it costs
$110 for this bit of paperwork (it was only $60 three years ago when
Dennis and Andrea got married, $40 a decade ago when Dave married Sylvie),
vaguely aware of a newfound tightening of the stomach when he realizes
that this bit of paper means they're as good as hitched, except for the
formal repetition of a few words. I probably have more in common with him
than my newfound anxiety will allow, and this, in a nutshell, is how my
world has changed since Sept. 11th.