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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remember: It Always Could Be Worse

Boy, these last coupla days! It seemed like every mechanical or electronic device I tried to use gave me grief. My lawnmower, my laptop, my car, my water heater, and even my iRecord acted a touch strangely. And yet it could be worse.

Remember September 10th, 2001?

I think I was getting excited to help out with my art school's annual student and teacher show. I was volunteering there regularly and was going to pitch in converting the school into a gallery for a week.

On the eve of another September 11th, I think back to that, not really remembering how I felt in general. That next morning, when my friend called me and told me to turn on my TV just in time to see the live shot of the second tower slumping to the ground, is ridiculously bizarre in my head. Certainly, collectively we as a nation are still grieving, still recovering. I don't think I ever will. When I see NYC skyline shots, I feel that hole. I don't know that a new tower will help or hurt.

I was lucky enough to be up on that amazing observation deck once, earlier that year. A friend and I had stayed with another friend in Brooklyn for a week and we explored Manhattan. Barely scratching Gotham's surface, we did see a lot, including the WTC. I vividly, vividly remember standing at the base of one tower, near its corner, looking straight up and feeling like it was arching out over my head, as though it were leaning towards the other. Heck maybe they had a mutual gravitational pull they were so freaking big.

I think that's the thing I can't get over: the scale, the magnitude of the buildings, of what happened, of the people lost. It just seems like it couldn't have happened. It's the only event that I remember in my lifetime like it. It's sort of like trying to conceptualize a billion dollars when it's a challenge to scrape together gas money.

What do you remember about the day before, and that morning?



Jessica said...

Nice post.
I don't remember anything about Sep 10th.
I remember shock, and grief on Sep 11th.
On Sep 12th more grief, but also a feeling of togetherness with everyone in the country.

I wish we could treat people the same way we did those weeks right after 9/11. We all felt for each other, so despite differences we were united.

d.edlen said...

It is interesting how the unity of raw human emotions gave way to reoccurring divisiveness as people began to think again.

There was a powerful connectedness of grief and shock that probably served to balance out the loss in the "force", if you will. Life as a whole, expressed through the individuality of people is pretty skilled at adapting.

If only we could remember to tap into that connectedness, definitely.

Thanks, jessica.

PopArtDiva said...

Daniel - You know what strikes me the most every anniversary of 9/11?

How on September 12th, 2001 I knew I had lost the very last vestige of the innocence and trust of my youth.

Aside from the grief, aside from the shock and aside from the emotions, Americans lost something very basic to our sense of self that day.

So to me September 10th was the last day of childhood for myself and probably the last day of America's youth as a nation.

Does this make any sense to you?

d.edlen said...

Thanks for the thoughts!

It was a brain rearranging day for sure, one of those days that you can't remember how the world worked before.

My wife, discussing her brother's death, said it felt like gravity started working sideways.

I think, though, that historically the nation hardly had its youth or innocence at all intact.

I think that the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the assassination of JFK had already shattered those.

We Americans might've become naive and lackadaisical as a nation.

It took that day to, again, make it seem that the world stopped working the same way.