Friday, June 30, 2006

Prada & Me

When I see certain movies, I get so caught up in the world on the big screen in front of me that when I walk out I feel like I am the heroine. I feel her hair on my head, her walk in my feet, her particular way of lifting her chin or pursing her lips. I have intense movie crushes that have nothing to do with romantic or sexual yearnings, but simply a desire to be that person who just loomed twenty feet tall in front of me for two hours.

With that introduction, you're no doubt expecting something spectacular, but the film I saw today was "The Devil Wears Prada." It's a complete Meryl Streep tour de force, even though she inhabits the screen much less than Anne Hathaway. I really enjoyed the movie, even though it was predictably sappy at times, with a "Working Girl" or even "Two Weeks Notice" kind of ending. (My cinematic references are so elite.) But Meryl Streep is so very very good. She plays the character exactly how you don't expect her to - there is no screaming or nastiness, just a very calm low soft purr that is chilling in its intensity. To see that just a week or so after seeing her flighty rural songstress in "A Prairie Home Companion" is just incredible.

So, yes, I come home and I feel like I am looking at the world through Anne Hathaway's face. I want to own fabulous shoes and coats and handbags, because I'm still caught up in the movie's reality. And, really? I'm not even that kind of girl. To be perfectly frank, I don't even quite know what Prada is. I mean, I know Prada is a fashion brand, but I couldn't tell you what exactly its stuff looks like. This is despite having several friends (gay, male) who worship at the feet of the Prada gods. Sadly, their extravagant purchases have been lost on me because I couldn't tell Prada apart from... well, another designer I don't know. When Kathy Griffin made a joke about Anderson Cooper touring ravished New Orleans in Prada, all I could think was, "is that what he usually wears?" Because it just looks like a suit to me.

Thank you. I think I've successfully talked myself down from running out to buy a copy of Vogue.

I don't usually go to movies on Friday, but it's the start of a long weekend (we have Monday and Tuesday off for July 4th) and I'm a bit restless. I was supposed to help my mother move but now that is all up in the air, so I am facing a number of days without anything specific to do. I can fill those days easily, between writing and reading and cleaning and doing computer work and playing the Sims and taking clothes to the thrift store and going to the gym and etc. etc., but I'm still feeling a bit empty. I think it's been really hard to be so far away when my mother has been going through hell, because there's no way for me to get up there and do anything, if there were anything I could do anyway. Although now it appears there might not be quite as much damage to her place as suspected, and the buyers are still interested and planning to visit this weekend. It's not as good news for the village itself (which is about 15 miles from her place) - it's still underwater and seriously compromised.

Maybe I'll google Prada.

Changing the subject...

Yesterday I ran into another "Spiderman 3" shoot on the way home from work. It must have been a winter scene because there were piles of fake snow on accumulated on the sidewalks, even across the street from where they were filming.

Shortly after I got home and it started to pour - loud, heavy rain, with big cracks of thunder. I wonder how the fake snow held up in the rain.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

And beyond

Can you believe how fucking strong water can be?

More photos are at: The Daily Star Online


It's bad. When we spoke last night, there was still more rain and flooding to come. It's hard talking to someone in the midst of a tragedy, before you really know how bad it will turn out to be. But she's okay, stepfather and stepbrother are okay, dogs are fine. Farm animals okay so far - although her biggest fear is that they will drown during the night's rainfall. (Half of the barn has been washed away.) My biggest fear is that she'll try to save them in the middle of the dark dangerous rainy night and get washed away for her efforts. How to tell someone that the animals she's cared for for years aren't worth her own life?

Today, misery of miseries, I have the busiest day of work since I started this job - managing two large client events - a day I've been dreading for months now, and instead of focusing on nametags and caterers and last minute presentation changes, my mind will be elsewhere. Cell phone in my pocket, my body tensing each time it vibrates.

It's raining here now, loud against my air conditioner, which doesn't help.

Photo borrowed from, an actual photo of a street in Mom's town.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Remember when I said I wasn't going to write about my family on this blog, out of respect for their privacy? Screw that. Right now I just need to. You see, my mother is in the process of moving - sold her house, movers are scheduled to come in two days, and the closing is next week. She's been packing for a month. Today, the repeated heavy rains in upstate NY caused the Delaware River to overflow, and her house and land? Now under water. She's evacuated with the dogs and is waiting it out - the rain continues, with another couple of inches due tomorrow. All of the roads surrounding her are washed out. My stepfather had to abandon his truck on a flooded road and suspects it's long gone (rushing water, not car thiefs.) In the midst of worrying about her own safety and that of her animals, she now is tormented by the fear that the buyers will back out, that there will be significant damage that she can't afford to fix (being cash poor if the sale doesn't go through.) One thing is sure: no moving trucks are getting near there on Thursday. Luckily her new place is far away, and on high ground. She owns it outright, and can move there whenever, but it's a half-renovated house that she planned on finishing with the money from the sale of the old house... I can't even call her because she's staying at a neighbor's (not even sure which one) and doesn't have a cell phone. My brothers spoke to her so they know she's okay but I wish I could, too.

World Cup

There's this common refrain that Americans are the only people not glued to the tv watching the World Cup. And yet, I can't escape it. We have tvs at work in the elevator banks and lobbys, and those that are typically tuned into to CNN or Bloomberg News are on ESPN or ESPN2. Sometimes two tvs side by side will each be tuned into a different match. Small clusters of people congregate around them, and others call out when they walk by, "What's the score?" Bars and restaurants are advertising games on their chalkboard easels. Half the tvs in the gym are tuned in (and the other half seem to be broken.) Just yesterday on the street, I passed a father telling his young daughter which teams had won the night before and what that meant.

I know that NYC is by no means the barometer of the U.S., (would that it were so!), so I guess maybe it isn't like this in the rest of the country.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I posted last Thursday during the Spiderman filming, but then started to feel like a stalker celebrity gawker, so took it down. Summary: it was a carnival, with hundreds of people watching on the streets and sidewalks. They filmed directly in front of my building, with huge lights and a white screen blocking my front door. I looked out my bedroom window and saw the top of Tobey Maguire's head. I took pictures - maybe I'll post them sometime when I feel less geeky about it.

Today I went and saw "Wordplay," the documentary on crossword puzzle champions that I've been hearing about for months from Will Shortz during his bit on "Weekend Edition" on NPR. It's a fun movie - well, fun if you like crosswords I guess, not so much if you don't. It's like "Spellbound" for grownups. Immediately I left and thought, why don't I do crosswords anymore? I get into obsessions and ruts easily. I stopped crosswords for logic puzzles, then number puzzles, then solitaire games on my palm pilot. But I do love completing puzzles. Naturally, the New York Times charges for their daily crossword puzzle online (through a membership that gives you other stuff as well), and I don't buy the paper on a regular basis since I can read it online now. Maybe I'll just dig through my stack of puzzle magazines and finish those to satisfy my sudden urge for wordplay!

A weird and quiet weekend. I went to the gym this morning, came home and tried to nap, couldn't, read half a book, then had no idea what to do with the rest of the day. For weeks I've been saying I wanted a rainy weekend so I would have to stay inside and clean, but now that one's here, I am so not motivated. When it's not sunny, I don't see the dust as much anyway. So I left the apartment without a destination and remembered that "Wordplay" was playing at the new IFC cinema, just steps from the subway, so why not?

Blogger spellcheck offers "wraithful" for "wordplay" and "NEVER" for "NPR." Wow.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Spidey Lands Today!

The street is empty, lined with red cones to keep the sides clear. Apparently, they will tow you, but you don't have to pay a fine or anything to get your car back, but it's still a major inconvenience.

There are two huge cranes parked on the street. Guess we're getting some aerial shots?

I wish I could stay home and watch - it really looks like I could see from my bedroom window since one of the cranes is close enough that a person in it could watch me dress. But working from home would be unproductive with all this distraction.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Spidey and the Fat Man

"Spiderman 3" is filming on my block later this week. A location scout came to the door last night and asked about putting a light on our roof. (I don't know how much luck he'll have with the cranky landlords, but not my problem.) Of course I am imagining Tobey Maguire swinging from the tops of the brownstones, but most of that is CGI, isn't it? It's probably a scene where he meets someone in front of the movie theater, or, horror of horrors, Blockbuster (also on this block.) Holy product placement, Batman! (I know. Wrong franchise.)


I slept late today because I had the fan going strong all night and didn't hear my upstairs neighbor's alarm go off or her stumbling around her bedroom as she got up. I'm resisting putting the air conditioner in the window because it blocks my view as I sit at my computer, plus eliminates any option for open windows and breeze. Two hot nights already, though, so I'm nearing the breaking point. I also hate doing it myself - there's always that moment of suspense when I feel that it's not quite secure enough and will go crashing down onto the sidewalk below. Hey, if I wait until Thursday, Spiderman could catch it before it killed an unsuspecting passerby, right?


I saw "The Breakup" on Sunday. Not much to say that hasn't been said. It's not really a comedy - was it marketed that way? I guess so, because all of the remotely funny scenes were either in trailers or interview clips so they must have been pushing the comic angle. That of course left nothing fresh to laugh at. And, you really can't laugh at the dead-on intensity of the fights between Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. If I didn't know better (thank you tabloid hell) I'd suspect the actors hated each other. The coolest thing about the film was their apartment. The oddest was how big Vaughn looked - bloated big, his face so puffy that his closely-shorn hair looked like a wrongly sized wig. I figured it was just the tired cliche that a man can be dumpy and still get the girl, but apparently it was a plot point because at the end of the movie (come on, I'm not giving away "The Sixth Sense" here), Aniston's character runs into him and comments on how much weight he's lost (and, face back to somewhat normal, it appears he has.) So... he gained weight for the role? Really? I mean, this isn't "Raging Bull." Although I suppose I'm a hypocrite for thinking it's okay for Renee Zewelleger to put on the pounds for "Bridget Jones," since that's not Scorsese either. But seriously, being fat is not Vince's character's problem in the movie, (as struggling with weight is a constant theme in the "Bridget Jones" books and films) nor is it the reason he and Aniston's character break up. Apparently it's just one of those outward symbols we're supposed to see and recognize. Look, he's exercising! He must be a changed man. Whatever.

I really didn't hate the film, although I didn't love it either. I'd like to live in their condo, though. Does anyone outside of NYC fall in love with real estate in movies the way I do?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Prarie Home Companion

It's a hot weekend and I'd spend most of it in an air-conditioned movie theater if I thought I could manage that without needing constant popcorn. But I did go see "A Prarie Home Companion" yesterday, the movie about a fictional radio show written and starring Garrison Keillor, host of a real radio show of the same name. I have to say up front I'm not a huge fan of Garrison Keillor. I feel like I should be, being a dedicated NPR listener, plus my mother is a huge fan, but I find myself turning off the radio when he comes on. I'm not sure why - maybe it's just too hokey, or balanced too much toward the unfamiliar music and not the comical sketches which I prefer. But the film is directed by Robert Altman, which made for an interesting and enticing combination, so I plunked down my $9 for an air-conditioned seat.

So the movie is pretty much like the radio show - except there really aren't skits, as most of those bits were turned into the "plot" of the film. For example, Guy Noir, a standard Keillor character, is an actual person played by Kevin Kline. Sure, Keillor starts telling long rambling stories, but in the movie they're all off-stage and treated with comical tolerance ("Oh, there goes Garrison again") and the camera wanders away looking for something meatier to share with us. Kudos for Keillor's poking fun at his own self. He's actually fairly endearing throughout, but he's overshadowed by some truly great actors: Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, John C. Reilly, even Woody Harrelson. Watching them perform was fun; sitting through the "plot" off the radio stage wasn't as much.

We get to see Lindsay Lohan as a blonde, but I can't watch that without remembering how she was constantly in the gossip pages while the movie was being filmed for her wild antics. It's hard not to look for signs of wear and tear, but although she is pretty skinny, she holds up well. (Except for a prologue scene in which she comes across as someone who wandered into a "Saturday Night Live" skit with only a half hour of rehearsal.)

Meryl Streep is a surprisingly good singer. John C. Reilly is also good, although not as much of a surprise if you saw him in "Chicago." It's worthwhile enough to see just to enjoy the fun they and the others are having, but if you're not a "Prarier Home Companion" fan, I don't think this movie will make you one.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Confession: Sometimes I think I'm just not plugged into the matrix, and by that I mean... well what do I mean? I don't really know (see #1) but I'm using it the way I think Dan Klass uses it, which is to say playing the game, or speaking the same language as the rest of them. In the mass cultural groove.

Some examples of why I am not...

#1 - I never saw "The Matrix." Not the original, not the sequels. Despite my obsession with film, there are many popular movies I've never seen, and if I mention any of these in front of people, the express shock and surprise. Movies like "Pretty Woman," "Dirty Dancing," "The Princess Bride," "Ghost," "My Own Private Idaho," and "Forrest Gump." The last is by choice, the others I can't explain. For the most part they came out when I wasn't actively going to movies, and while I could rent them now, they've been built up so much to me that I think I'll be disappointed. It happened with "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" - I bought the DVD and have tried to watch it three times but just get restless and bored and turn it off.

#2 - I'm not entirely positive I understand what an SUV is. I mean, I can identify certain vehicles as SUVs - the jeep/truck ones - but then I see others that I can't figure out. Are they mini vans? Modified station wagons? Are they also SUVs? They're certainly big enough. I know this is because I don't have a car or drive so I'm oblivious to what's out there, but I can't tell you right now what cars my brothers own, and they are the vehicles I've ridden in most often in the last five years. I'm not even sure what color they are.

#3 - I don't think Brad Pitt is all that attractive. I know, I know, there's something wrong with me. Part of it is his blondness (I'm attracted to dark-haired men as a rule) and part of it is because he still looks twenty two to me. I am regularly startled to realize he's actually fairly tall, since he looks so young and boyish to me. No, I don't really like young and boyish, not now that I am no longer what you'd call girlish. I may be the only one who hopes that the Chosen One turns out to look more like her Ma than her Pa.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the real blast

The truth is my apprehension yesterday was less about the threat of audible explosions and more about a stressful family situation, which I can't really discuss here. 1)Because I don't discuss family business here, especially when it centers on someone else's privacy and 2)Because it's not happening to me, but to someone I care about, so I feel strange talking about it with people who don't know the other party. It's as if I'm co-opting others' pain to gain sympathy for myself.

Meanwhile, whether I can find someone to talk to about it or not, my heart breaks a little bit whenever I think about what they are going through.

I feel like I want to write a story - not about my family situation, or about the dynamite at ground zero, but about someone who is ostensibly dealing with one thing but really troubled by another. The overt/covert story, so to speak.

Monday, June 12, 2006


On the news this morning they announced that there would be explosions at Ground Zero, as the construction crews tested using dynamite. Explosions three days a week for several months. Big warnings - so as not to freak anyone out that there were those kinds of noises coming from a place where they shouldn't come from again.

I didn't hear any, although I'm reading online that they happened and that most people in nearby buildings only heard muffled bangs. Still, I thought of it all day, tensed against unusual noises, metaphorically held my breath, waiting. A strangely stressful backdrop to what might be an otherwise ordinary day.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Selected Shorts

Last week I attended a live performance of "Selected Shorts," a program I've become addicted to on public radio, in which stage/screen actors read short stories by classic and contemporary writers. I tend to plan my weekends so that I'm home by 4 pm, which is when WNYC airs the show on both Saturday and Sunday. (Saturday is a repeat of the previous Sunday, so it's not like I'm glued to the radio - or, more accurately, the live stream over the internet - all weekend.) I don't know why it took me so long to decide to buy tickets, since it's taped right here in NYC, but I made it to the last reading of the season.

It was so good! The stories included an excerpt from Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," read by Jerry Zaks, a Broadway director; a phenomenal story by T.C. Boyle, read by Isaiah Scheffer, the founder and host of the series; and finally, a long but fascinating story read by Holly Hunter, by an author I'd never read before, Kim Edwards (who was in the audience and came on stage to hug Holly Hunter.)

Holly Hunter is fabulous. She read a story narrated by a 16 year old girl and she was so on, it was eerie. It doesn't hurt that she's so tiny (but what arms she has!) or that I was sitting in the front row of the balcony so I could see her, but not too clearly, and could easily imagine she was just a teenager herself.
(Then I came home and was flipping through channels and saw Holly Hunter in "Little Black Book" and stopped for a second to watch. Did she really think that was a quality project? Did Kathy Bates? It's amazing how many people got fooled into thinking that might be a good movie. Because, in case you were lucky enough to miss it, it SUCKED. It's hard to see someone like Holly Hunter sandwich that one in between "Thirteen" and "Nine Lives.")

Anyhow, I am so glad I went, and only wish I had gone sooner. I'll have to go to more when the new season starts (in September I hope.) Now I want to read more by both Kim Edwards and T.C. Boyle, but of course I have a big stack of books I've bought and not yet had time to read, so I'm supposed to be on a self-imposed freeze on bringing home new ones.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Apples to Apples

I have rediscovered a love for apples, a longing I haven't had since I was a kid and lived next to an apple orchard and in the autumn breathed daily the sweet sharp smell of fallen fruit. The best time to eat an apple then was right from the tree, which we did, despite the dire warnings from our parents that they were coated thick with pesticides. (We rubbed them on our jeans and felt confident we were safe.)

Now they taste the best when I buy them at the produce market on the way home from the gym, and slip one from the bag as I walk down the sidewalk, the apple sweet and crisp in my mouth as the sweat cools from my tired body. Yum.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dear Everyone Who's Ever Been on a Reality TV Show:

I applaud your desire to want to sound intelligent in front of the cameras, and your ability to remember at least a fraction of what your seventh grade English teacher taught, but let's be clear on this: using "and I" every single time you refer to yourself and another person only makes you sound stupid. You see, it's not correct in every single case. Yes! I know! Surprising, isn't it? Here's the thing: when your junior high English teacher (poor soul) was trying to combat your attraction to the phrase "John and me" or "You and me" she was specifically referring to the occasions when you erroneously used the phrase as the subject of a sentence. As in: "You and I are the best-looking people in this room" vs. "You and me are the best-looking people in this room." See how that works?

But, you see, she never meant for you to translate this to mean every "and me" phrase is wrong. For instance, "My mother made dinner for Jane and me." Yes, that's right! It's not "My mother made dinner for Jane and I" or "Nobody wanted to go out drinking with Bobby and I." It's me - "Bobby and me." Why? Because in those cases, "me" is the object of the preposition "with" or "for." Just like "Between you and me" is correct, and "Between you and I" is D-level English.

Is this too complicated? I know, subjects, objects, prepositions, blah blah blah. Here's a simple tool to guide you: take out the other person and the "and." What would you say, "I" or "me"? "The car came screeching around the corner, heading for Randy and I." Now let's try without Randy. "The car came screeching around the corner, heading for I." ???? Of course not, it's "heading for me," so it's "Randy and me." See how easy that was?

Oh, and while we're at it - there's no such word as "I's." You'll probably realize that when you stop with the "and I" stuff, but when you say, "Mark came over to Steven and I's house" you're just making ears across America bleed.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Truth, in any event

I think I posted about my dreams in anticipation of having nightmares after seeing "An Inconvenient Truth," which I was warned was a frightening film. And it is about the kind of thing that really terrifies me: the uncontrollable loss and destruction of the earth.

But I slept well. Not that the global warming issue isn't scary, or that I don't think it's one of the most important issues of our time, or that I didn't find some of the film's facts disturbing, but it didn't result in nightmares.

Don't get me wrong, I found Gore's presentation of the facts very compelling. And yet, that's what it amounted to: a presentation, a few technological steps above a standard powerpoint, filled with graphs and charts to illustrate the numbers behind the issue. I get that he can't go everywhere, and that by filming the same presentation he's made in selected cities expands his reach by many multiples, but I almost think that a simple taped version of the speech would have done the job. Or maybe, to break it up, have him out there interviewing some of the scientific experts who have contributed to the facts he shares. Instead of describing a conversation with a team who drills into the ice and tracks the carbon dioxide history of its various layers, interview the guy on camera! Give us another voice, beyond that of Al Gore, to impart some wisdom on the issue.

But nobody else is in the movie. Instead, we are treated to long lingering shots of Gore staring out of various windows (cars, trains, planes, offices, hotel rooms) while his voiceover shares his thoughts with us. Is that really necessary? Do we need to see the man thinking about this? But worse than those maudlin interludes are the brief glimpses we get of Gore's life, meant to illustrate his - commitment to this issue? his dedication to politics? his humanity? I'm not sure, but I don't think that still black and white shots of a generic hospital corridor while Gore remembers the near-death of his young son, or generic photographs of tobacco fields while he shares his grief over the death of his sister from cancer, do anything but make me think I wandered into the wrong movie. I felt like I was being played, and found myself rolling my eyes every time we left the presentation proper and one of those sappy asides started. What is the point? Only those who have felt that kind of sadness or despair can fully appreciate the environmental mess we've gotten ourselves into? Do you have to have a sister die of cancer to realize smoking kills?

Okay, there was one flashback which actually did bring me to tears. It was a recounting of the 2000 election, and although it was also just a series of familiar images with a voiceover, seeing it again, remembering again, made me really sad. Remember when we thought that we'd actually elected the man who would be President?

So I guess I'm a hardhearted bitch for preferring a straightforward educational film not burdened by melodramatic backstory, but I still am going to recommend it to everyone I know. It gives very clear and concise facts about global warming, and doesn't shy away from offering solutions and suggestions, including things each individual can do. And there is some terrifying footage - watch a map of lower Manhattan disappear under floodwater and see the office building in which I work as one of the first victims to the rising seas.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dream a little dream with me.

I have three very different recurring dreams. One is about apartments and houses, one is about love, and the last is about fear. Laying them out like that I can see how logical it is that these are the three things my subconscious fixates on. It always seems weird, though, when I have one of them, because each time the dream is so similar to the times I've had it in the past.

In the house dreams I am either in my own apartment or my mother's house, but there are extra rooms. Rooms I didn't know existed, or knew but never explored. Sometimes they are filled with furniture and things and other times they are empty and I start planning how I am going to rearrange my furniture to take up the extra space. Sometimes there is a backdoor in my mother's current house and I walk outside and there is this whole other house behind it, bigger and more beautiful, with rooms filled with antiques and beautiful rugs. My mother is surprised that I am surprised. Other times I am in my apartment but it's somewhere different, like on the top of a much taller building, and there is a huge roof garden or a secret back stairway that leads somewhere else... always, something new, a new possibility. That's how I've chosen to interpret these dreams: that I am hopeful of new opportunities and new possibilities that I have not yet imagined, but are right here, waiting for me to discover them. Either that or it's a reflection of the obsessions New Yorkers have with real estate.

The lover dreams are also very consistent, although the man himself changes. But he and I are always part of a group who are doing something together: working, making a movie, vacationing - sometimes it's not even defined. There is a sense of camaraderie, though, of a team of people who are sharing an experience. When he and I are in the larger group we are drawn to each other and I gain comfort from just standing beside him, and knowing that there is something between us. Our romance is secret - not purposely hidden, but not yet exposed. It's in an early stage, still our private thing, and yet I am happy when I see him in this group setting (he's usually doing something that impresses or inspires others) knowing that he and I have a special bond. Now that all sounds overly sentimental, but it doesn't feel that way in the dream: just happy, and loved, and excited and hopeful, with a dash of the thrill of having a secret thrown in. (Once, years ago, he was Michael Jordan, and the excitement was watching him on the basketball court knowing that nobody knew yet that he'd fallen in love with me.) Usually when I wake from these dreams I try to fall asleep again and reclaim the happiness I feel in them.

The last are the nightmares. Some kind of danger is coming, usually from the sky, and there is no place to hide. I wrote about one of these before. I know I had them before 9/11, but I think their nature has shifted since, so that there are more often low-hovering airplanes involved. When I was younger I was always able to fly in my nightmares, to pick myself up and whisk up into the sky to escape a threat, but now I can't because the sky is where the bad is. I don't think it takes a PHD in psychiatry to analyze these. Thankfully they don't occur very often, but I suppose they do when I'm stressed or worried about something.

I almost forgot about the fish dreams. When I was younger, they were nightmares similar to now, only instead of danger coming from the sky it was fish swimming through the air at me. And I still do dream about some harm coming to my fish - I wake up and the tank has sprung a leak and the fish are lying on the floor gasping for air and I am helpless as to what to do. No longer are they harming me, but the fear of my inadvertently harming them is as frightening.
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