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Please Interrupt Me

December 17, 2011

I am not sure why this should be the morning I watch the trailer for The Interrupters, a documentary about former gang members who interrupt street violence in Chicago. I am not sure why two minutes of this movie should put me on the verge of tears all day. It’s wrenching.

On this morning in late December, I am busy ordering for my adolescent daughter a set of footed pajamas such as she wore as a baby — this pair are red flannel, at her request — and when I complete this task I will return to putting away dishes, folding laundry, writing the sketch of an article and taking the dogs for a walk.  I will wonder if I have bought enough presents to make everyone happy for Christmas. I will consider what to serve for dinner; I may call and talk to my mother about this bit of business. I will swing by the bank. I am not in danger of dying from gunfire on the street on my way to work or elementary school. But that does not comfort me. A minute ago I was watching people sob over a boy in a coffin, wearing a baseball cap. Now I am staring at small pictures of adults jumping up and down in footed pajamas. I gaze at the tiny print celebrating the colors they come in, and the patterns, and the sizes, and all the variations. This is not the only website advertising footed pajams in adult sizes; there are at least half a dozen whose smiling models are sporting camoflage patterns, and plaid, and paisley.  In a voice that seems to be coming from the basement, I order one pair of size medium red footed pajamas with matching nightcap. The clerk seems not to notice I am choked with tears. Is the online experience really so difficult? They try to make it easy.  They try to make it so easy you never have to sweat. They try to make it so easy that if you are lucky, you will never shed a tear.

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