I’m having flashbacks to the Cold War

Guam to get defense system after North Korea’s missile move. The U.S. said it will send a missile defense system to Guam to protect it from North Korea, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said posed a “real and clear danger.”

There is a little part of me that is freaking out right now. My heart beats just a bit faster. I’m regretting my move to the top floor apartment (albeit the move was two years ago and I’m only on the second floor). I have the distinct need to clean out my pantry and restock it with non-perishable food items. I even reconsidered the purchase of some new red glitter fingernail polish because what is the point if THE WORLD IS GOING TO END?!?!

Welcome to my mind during what I can only call a flashback from post-cold war traumatic childhood-syndrome. It’s not a real thing. I’m sure my therapist would say it stems from my anxiety disorder but let’s just stick with my title. It’s more catchy if not a little long.

When I was in elementary school we lived in Germany for four years. It was an amazing experience, and I totally caught Carmen San Diego’s butt because my European geographical knowledge was so on point. Don’t ask me where Iowa is, I have no idea, my American geography skills stink. While we lived there my parents made sure I got as much history jammed into my brain as possible. We went to Verdun, France. We went to Frankfurt and Dachau. I traveled TWICE into East Germany (yes, Millenials, there was once an East and West Germany!). The first time I went with my parents and some family friends.

The trip with my parents was really interesting. And very sad. We crossed through Check Point Charlie into East Berlin. My dad had to wear his military dress uniform and my mom made sure that she and I looked our best too. After all we were representing Americans and we wanted to look good as a sign of respect. Except there was no one on the streets of East Berlin to show our respect to, that is, no one except the East German military guard that followed us the entire time. It was very scary. Guards, with guns, followed us around a city that was dead basically. People were there they just stayed inside. West Berlin is was very much a metropolitan city, bustling with life. East Berlin was the exact opposite. Everything was gray. Everything was dark. It seemed, much like Dachau, that the sun never shone there.

The second time I went with my Girl Scout troop by train in the night. The train ride was very interesting. We were told that once the train got to the West/East border we would not be allowed to look out the window of the train until we got to West Berlin. While traveling through East Germany it was Verboten to look out the window. We were all supposed to be asleep anyway so what would be the big deal? Right? Wrong. I had to peek. So lying on the top bunk I slipped a finger between the shade and the window and saw…fields. Not sure what the East Germans were trying to hide but I was shocked to see just fields. It was a scary thing to do though – to peek when we were strictly told by The Grown Ups to not peek at all.

All of this history, and a good dose of end-of-the-world disaster movies, and I am terrified of nuclear missile stories. Oh and did I mention that I spent a good portion of 5th grade hiding under my desk because of the bomb threats that were made on my elementary school because it was an American elementary school? Once we were back in Alabama I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor in the hallways of my junior high school because we were under a tornado watch, and that didn’t, and still doesn’t, scare me nearly as much as the possibility of a nuclear threat.

Possibility. Threat. Hasn’t happened yet, probably won’t, but it’s there and we’re talking about it and it makes me want to stock pile rice and powdered milk.

I can’t remember if my end of the world dreams began before 5th grade or not; 5th grade is just the time I know that I had them. The dreams were awful. Everything was gray. Ash fell continuously from the sky. My mother was dead. My father was alive but was having a hard time raising a little girl on his own. Long lines of people trying to get bread. Everyone in some type of coveralls – all gray. Lots of lines and people coughing and it being cold and dark all the time. And my dad. My dad was sad, really sad, and I worried that he wouldn’t be able to take care of me because he was always so sad.

Like I said, nightmares.

The last couple of nights I’ve been having some really harsh dreams again. Not so much about the end of the world, but sleep walking and nightmares are keeping me awake. I don’t want to be an ostrich to world events, but at the same time I’d like to sleep peacefully and not worry that the world is going to end because of some sicko in North Korea. I’d like to stop waking up in the middle of night finding myself crying or standing up next to my bed or feeling like I’m going to vomit.

I’m trying to listen to my gut; I know that North Korea isn’t going to act. It’s all a show. Lil Kim is feeling Spring – he’s strutting around North Korea shaking his tail feathers just like the Muscovy ducks in my pond are doing (side note: we’re expecting another “litter” of ducklings in the next couple of weeks!). I just wish his feather shaking was a little less world destructive. Can he not just keep Photoshopping pictures of how he’s already erased the US off the planet? That would be okay with me. It’s not like the North Korean people will ever know the truth. (Tell me why Socialism is a good thing?)

So until North Korea calms down I’m going to be one exhausted woman dealing with my Cold War flashbacks and trying to avoid the news as much as possible. If you see me stock piling food and bottled water just offer to help me get it up to my second floor apartment.


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