Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years later.

I consider myself clever, after a fashion, and capable of spouting forth nonsense on so many subjects as to make the mind whirl and get myself ten seconds of attention. But there are times, like today, when words fail me.

I was at work that day, like any other Tuesday, bemoaning some project or other, thinking of places I'd rather be. And then the internet went nuts, and everyone was whispering, and "I heard" became the beginning of every sentence for the rest of the day.

"I heard they're telling everyone to go home"

"I heard there was another explosion in San Francisco"

"I heard they blew up a school bus"

The first visual evidence I had was going down to the hotel lobby and standing in the bar. At that moment, the first tower fell. I was dumbstruck. How is it possible?

A month later, I went to see Ani DiFranco just outside of Philadelphia. I'd been to several of her shows, but had never seen a crowd so quiet. There was a yearning there, that we all needed to be entertained, needed to think of something else, needed, maybe, someone to put how we felt into words. That night, she performed a very early version of "Self Evident", and there was one line that stuck out to me then, and still gets me to this day:

"and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed"

Because that was it. We never think of the impermanence of things like buildings, especially not once they become symbols. These buildings are forever. They only disappear in movies.

It didn't take long for arrogant patriotism to take over the country, and an almost nauseating quest for retribution began. And I could go back to fearing for the future our leaders were dragging us towards again. Le sigh.

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