Dear Isis.

23 Apr

Dear Iris,

I’m assuming that is your name as that is how it read on your name tag, but as I was wrong about everything else in your head today, I’d be happy to call you Isis. Or an ambulance.

You were in that group from one of the states between here and California that is vowel-heavy, an awful lot of “i’s” and “o’s” for such a small word. I prefer not to be more specific except to say that you are from a caucus state. And you just had to let me know that you were dragged out west by your hair by your husband who nabbed a job teaching at the University there after our boys came back from the trenches at Verdun and that you are far more cosmopolitan and exotic than the smell of corn and manure wafting from your Burberry mack might counter-indicate. Not to worry. It was clear to me you still suffer the worst excesses of East Coast snobbery that, just between you and me and for the future, we dispensed with a good twenty years ago over on this side of the country you purport to know so well from your Victorian youth. Even in a recent Readers’ Digest poll, NYC came in at number two as the “Politest City in the World” after Bern, Switzerland. So, two strikes: You are a bitch who fell off a turnip truck.

I’m sorry. That was impolite and snobbish of me. But then, I wasn’t polled.

After ignoring me and gabbing with your seat-mate for the duration of the half-hour drive down to the World Trade Center site, I guess you missed the three times that I asked you to go through security on your own and that I would run ahead and be standing at the entrance of the plaza to greet all of you. But I appreciate your heaving angry effort to find me on a crowded line and scold me wildly that I had left, by your account, a good 90% of the guests back in security. While I had already explained this to you thrice, I’ll say further, in your defense, I did not go on to tell you that I dash through security to get ahead of all of you because by this point in any trip, you bug the shit out of me and it is a moment’s grace I give me to rid myself of you and your array of any number of ambulatory devices and vaginal mesh systems that set the security scanners on fire. The sound of an alarm at Ground Zero still goes through me a bit like an ice pick, you’ll forgive me.

But you, Isis, you are one of the Policewomen of the World, making sure the planet is safe for you to inflict your will upon all of its inhabitants. Would you rather be right or happy? You, Isis, would rather be right! Of course I never said anything three times although now I have and again but I’m not one to count. Six. Well done you.

After I took some time trying to explain the meaning of the memorial waterfalls in the footprints of Towers One and Two, how the water disappears at the bottom of a placid lake to fall into an abyss of nothingness, how that abyss is tantamount to the feeling many of us had for years and still continue to harbor if we allow ourselves to think of that terrible day these ten years later, maybe even if less and less, I mentioned that the water is “resurrected” to the top again, that nothing is truly lost, and that many people find comfort in this endless cycle of water. Imagine my shock when you came back from your personal investigation of my propaganda to tell me you found the waterfalls to be “disturbing.”

“Seeing that water disappear just made me sad. I didn’t like it.”

Oh mighty Isis, after an evening of fearless introspection, I’ve come fully round and couldn’t agree more. How ill-advised and inappropriate of Joseph Daniels, President of the 9/11 Memorial, to choose a sad and disturbing design to commemorate the saddest and most disturbing day in NYC history. Perhaps you missed my whole feeble “resurrection” metaphor while you were gabbing to your friend (that beleaguered woman deserves the “I befriended Isis” merit badge), you, with the iconic, mangled, disturbing, and crucified Christ hanging from a fragile chain around your ironic neck. I’ve just dashed off a letter to Mr. Daniels advising him on your behalf to re-conceive the entire project so that by the time you next visit, the memorial will more closely resemble the fancy dancing fountains in front of the Bellagio, complete with colored lights and an endless loop of Josh Groban singing You Raise Me Up playing on loudspeakers dangling from the treetops.

You’ll forgive me, but by now, I was well onto you and didn’t walk into your “Where did those Muslims build that mosque?” trap. I didn’t really get a call on my cell phone at that moment. It was a useful prop. My mother is, in fact, just fine.

While we certainly were ticketed for the Zephyr boat cruise in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor after that, we did not book the cruise in your name for a private party honoring your presence. I’m sorry we failed to tell you that. Yes, it was terribly annoying that those “Orientals” kept standing in front of the windows a full 75 feet from where you parked your ass, too entitled and xenophobic to stand among them and get an unobstructed view of the Statue of Liberty. Kudos to you, however, for actually getting up and screeching at them to move out of your way and waddling back to your seat. That is the kind of hearty aggressive-aggression that made this heartland of ours so great. The sound of you screaming at Asians in the shadow of Mother of All Exiles, shrill, sad, and disturbing, somehow resurrected my abysmal mood, my lost last love.

Thank you for getting off the motorcoach and passing directly in front of me like a linebacker to tell the driver how excellent he was. He certainly was. Had you attempted to compliment me as all the others did, I would have known a lie was headed my way and I assure you my poor mother would have been calling me at that precise moment stricken with another faux acid-reflux attack.

I miss you Iris. You are on a plane now, headed back towards the plains where you’ll once again reign as an adored terror of a big fish flopping about in a dusty drought. Let this be my prayer: You’ll help us to be wise, in times when we don’t know, lead us to a place, guide us with your grace, and give me faith or a text you’ve got at least 90% of your group through security.

With sad affection and disappointment,

16 Responses to “Dear Isis.”

  1. The Wanderlust Gene April 24, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Now what brought that on?, I ask. Oh dear, haven’t we all met and been totally flummoxed by how to deal with Isis?

    • NC Coot April 24, 2012 at 12:23 am #


      Anonymous blogging. The 21st Century confessional.

      I am heartily sorry.

      • The Wanderlust Gene April 24, 2012 at 12:27 am #

        Oh no, not a real encounter!!!! Now I’m really in trouble with the stitch from laughing over your predicament. It was fabulous and we should all be thankful for a little someone who got up your nose and forced that out:)

      • NC Coot April 24, 2012 at 12:37 am #

        We are indebted to any one of life’s obstacles as we try to write, aren’t we?

        Thank you so much for the balm of your encouragement.

      • The Wanderlust Gene April 24, 2012 at 12:46 am #

        Indeed – and the more difficult the experience, the more insightful our response as writers. You’re most welcome. I always enjoy reading you …

  2. Montserrat Mendez April 24, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    Coot! The name Isis, (which is pronounced more like Asset) means, Throne. And it sounds like Isis was fully sitting on metaphorical throne during her excursion to our great city. No doubt, she’s at home, attempting to shower, and shedding bitter tears because the water is disappearing into the abyss of the drain which is her life.

    • NC Coot April 24, 2012 at 1:06 am #


  3. pouringmyartout April 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    When you tear someone down, they come down just like the towers did. I am not making light of 9-11, just pointing out that you have a devastating ability to dismantle a structure with unexpected and devastating thoroughness. I would not like your scorn to be aimed at me.

    • NC Coot April 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      True. But words hurt a little less than planes, so I direct my ire here, anonymously, and release the devastation from my heart in the least damaging way I can think of.

      I’d never direct my scorn at you. You’re too kind. Even if I did, I’d change your name…

      • pouringmyartout April 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

        I stand a little less terrified…

  4. Joe Pineda April 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    What a terror. The worst part is that people like these I think are beyond a point of change. They are comfortable with who they are without realizing the annoyance and stress they inflict on others. It’s definitely sad.

    • NC Coot April 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      Perhaps it’s the one privilege the elderly have any longer. They murdered the editor in their head a decade earlier.

  5. butimbeautiful May 1, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Isis! Awful pain in the arse person…but gorgeous name! I wish I could have another kid, so i could call it Isis. Or twins. Isis and Osiris. Beat THAT, other mothers at the playground!! (I would have said)

    • NC Coot May 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      I have a sponsor child in the Philippines. If I get another one, I’ll name her Isis for you.

  6. antipop April 26, 2013 at 4:52 am #

    Just landed on this blog entry searching for another piece titled “Dear Isis.”
    You have got such fantastic diction. Echoing “pouringmyartout” on the thoroughness into which you dismantle Isis. There is such power and beauty in words…
    Great writing.

    • NC Coot April 26, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Thank you for such a thoughtful response to such a regrettable outburst on my part. I’m kinder in person, I’m told.

      Happy to learn of your blog!

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