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« August 2001 | Main | October 2001 »

September 17, 2001
[life is beginning to...]

Life is beginning to become normal again, at least inside of me. Except I haven't been sleeping very well. But unsettling dreams have shifted from images of wreckage and despair to strange scenarios, more typical of the usual dreams. I dreamt I had a child last night. Or rather, the child was presented to me as mine. She was 4 days old and quite talkative. I began to find her annoying.

This afternoon, I left work early to come home and nap. This time, I dreamt a client had a radio ad for a pet-related Ovaltine product (his web site has to do with pets).

Earlier today, another client asked how old I was. When I told him, he said, "Holy shit!" Not sure what that means, but I like it when clients use foul language. I get tired of pretending to be professional sometimes, but I always will pretend. Leave it to others to be themselves, real. Then he said, "So you're still into partying and going out and stuff like that." I told him my life had calmed down since Pittsburgh. As though it had something to calm down from.

This is a pretty good recipe. I made it last night. Still have to clean up the dishes from it. Too tired today. Too tired to do anything, really. TV is lame. I watched Strange Frequency on VH1. Stupid show.

My downstairs neighbors are smart, I can tell. The new bohemians. They have many books. They get a magazine called Book. Its cover was well designed. I get their mail and slide it under their door (don't worry, I am not a psychotic stalker neighbor). I am curious about them. The dinner they make always smells good, not like the fishy/mothbally smell of upstairs neighbors' dinner. I probably will never talk to them.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

September 12, 2001
Some Perhaps Less Pertinent Questions, But Stuff I Have Been Thinking About

When will commercial-free broadcasting end on news stations and public stations? When will the media cease to feel it is necessary to broadcast 24 hours of news?

Have other forms of crime dropped in the past two days? Have any planned murders or other crimes not occurred because everyone is collectively outraged/concerned/engrossed in TV? Are hoodlums too busy worrying about their friends and family (hoodlum or otherwise)?

How much sleep will the president/other political figures/rescue workers/news media get in the next week? How will this affect their actions?

How much information has been lost? And more existentially, how important is it that it was lost?

What sort of art will result from these events and from any revised idealogies the events spawn?

When will I feel normal again? And what about they who have it infinity times worse than me? What will be their new definition of normal? How will it compare with their former sense of normality?

Will life end up better than it was? Is it wrong to think that it could? (Am I being overly dramatic?)

I do a childish thing where I make wishes when I see repeating numbers. Like when I have 333 miles on a tank of gas, or when it's 11:11. I remember looking at the clock on Sunday and thinking: "I wish for a good week -- no, what the heck -- a great week -- for everyone I know." A great week.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

September 11, 2001
[i think that not writing...]

I think that not writing something today would be a mistake somehow. But after taking in everything the television has to tell me, I am not sure what to say.

I heard about the first plane crash on the drive to work. I had been listening to the Clientele album and decided to break off in the middle in favor of the radio. This rarely happens. I listened to a live CBS broadcast of the second crash. At work, I attempted to download live video from MSNBC, but with no luck. Finally, when James arrived, we watched pixelated coverage on BBC's web site, the lights in the office turned off to try to see the images on his Mac better.

We made some crude jokes in British accents, trying to offset the tragedy of the thing. James bought chocolate donuts from Wawa. We watched footage of the Pentagon aftermath. We said it was surreal, because it was. The other half of our office called out sick, perhaps due to this catastrophe.

Around 11, I went home. Traffic was noticeably heavy but not a big problem. I watched television and made a lame effort to organize my apartment. I worried about my father. I had driven to his office when I was unable to reach him by phone, but his car wasn't there. I called him repeatedly and wondered if the voice recording was the last thing I would hear him say. He travels to California frequently, and occasionally leaves from Newark's airport, so I feared that he was on the flight that had crashed outside of Pittsburgh.

Around 2, my mother finally called. She was still at school. Even though school had been dismissed, she had to stay there because many parents were unable to reach their children due to Amtrak/SEPTA issues, or because they were still at work. She told me my dad was in Langley, Virginia. He had driven there and was probably okay.

I called Chris. Dad had called him because he had heard of the crash in Pittsburgh and was worried. Meanwhile, many relatives were worried about Dad. But I was able to calm down then.

Still, I have done no work today. I cleaned my bathroom (sort of -- I forgot about the tub) and cleaned out my fridge, both minor accomplishments. Most of the time was spent in front of the television, and it seemed to pass fairly quickly. I took photos of the TV, something not done since the 1980s, since Chris and Liam and I tried to prove our Nintendo high scores so we could send them in to Nintendo magazine. I don't know if the photos will come out, but it will help me remember today.

It is too early to reflect on the consequences of what has happened today. While I am shocked and numb, another part of me is not surprised that this happened. I feel like my life has changed, but I'm not sure just how, just yet.

Last week, watching the thoroughly bland MTV Video Awards, I thought about how I'd read that mindless music tends to dominate during times of general well-being, and good music hits the scene during times of unrest. Are we in a time of unrest now? I guess I'm saying that somehow, I think that good will result from this disaster. Already, I find the strength of community in New York heartening -- at least that which has been broadcast.

I wonder what I would have done if I had been trapped in one of the World Trade buildings. Would I have jumped? The video footage of people waving white fabric out of the windows is horrifying. They could access the world outside the building, but not well enough to exist in it, to preserve their existence in it. And then the structures collapsed.

Jason Kottke links to a lot of interesting first-hand accounts.

Stories from people on the street are fascinating, but ABC keeps repeating the same ones.

I wish I had cookies in my apartment.

I should write to my friends.

One last thought. Where do the bums go in times like these? We don't see them in the television footage. Mostly just young professionals. Maybe that's a stupid question. I don't know. I just spoke with Greg. He said this is the first thing where he'll remember where he was when he heard about it. There are a few things like that, for me.

It has been a long, draining day, and all I have done is drive to work, drive home, and watch television. Maybe I am being suffocated by my solitary environment. I'm looking forward to painting class tomorrow night.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM