Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Peoples is Peoples."

Photo of the Day: WTC site on 9.11.08. Supposedly, there were a lot of grand high muckamucks down there.

Novel progress 776 words. (Confucius say, He who snack heavily at night spend more time in morning sitting on porcelain than writing.) Joseph got a good look at Ralph's angel & saw how cruel and self-abusive it is. Pilgrim doesn't realize Joe can see other angels & Joe is keeping it from him. Joe demands Pilgrim help him to help Ralph, but Pilgrim refuses, wanting to bargain for information. Ralph meets up with Charlie...

I found myself tearing up this morning when I re-read the letter I wrote back in September of 2001. To be honest, it wasn't for those lost. It was remembering how scared & anxious we all were in the months that followed. I remember passing all the "have you seen" pictures taped to phone kiosks & imagining if that had been me, & how my wife & son (Amanda wouldn't grace us with her presence for a few more years) would have nothing left of me, no proof, no remains, no nothing. Ok, enough.

I've started to look at people, actually LOOK at them. Not staring or ogling, just long enough that something clicks inside, a feeling that I've made some sense of them. I don't think about them, I don't try to catalogue or make conclusions about what their wearing or how their walking if they're fat, skinny, prim, slutty, pretty, ugly, (or in some cases, pretty ugly) - I simply look. It's a weird feeling, like some sort of new sense that I'm getting a fleeting glimpse of. It's odd, because the trick to living in New York (or any city for that matter) is ignoring everyone and everything. If you didn't, you'd go mad. There's a constant cacophony of sirens, jackhammers, horns, and motors, people trying to stick a Metro or AM News in your face, people shouting into cell phones, people who stink, people preaching on the subway, bright flashing neon lights, giant televisions filling the avenues with mammoth advertising, angry people, happy people, poor people, sewer gas coming out of plastic orange smokestacks... The list goes on and on. If you didn't ignore the constant onslaught upon your senses you'd go insane. But actually looking at people, seeing them, how they slouch or stand proudly, how their faces are determined or sagging or lined or thin or broad, the clothes they chose to wear... it's just strange to suddenly be aware of everyone.

This morning, I talked to a man who works at the deli I frequented. He brought up the film M. Without thinking, I quickly followed with my Rocky Rococo impersonation. ("You may have seen me loitering around the drugstore, drinking chocolate malted Falcons and giving away free high schools!") The man's eyes grew wide. "You know the Firesign Theatre?" he happily exclaimed. We spent a bit of time relating our favorite bits. See? We're everywhere. (But how can you be in two places at once...)



The Amazing Trips said...

It sure doesn't seem like seven years ago. That horrible day in history happened before we had children. I remember how frightened I was and I can't even imagine how much more terrified I would have been if I had been a mother at that time.

The drive to protect your children is certainly the strongest instinct I've ever experienced.

For a year or two after 9/11 - I actually considered NOT having kids because I couldn't imagine bringing them in to this world. Thankfully, I've come to once again see all the beauty that exists, too.

Caroline said...

Looking at people like that sounds like you are going sane!

After all its only mad people who pretend that something or someone who is there isn't...

MIKE said...

A very interesting read. Nice writing. It sounds like you've realized something very important here.

Robocop said...

A very touching piece.

Rayne said...

Every now and then someone will break through my own personal bubble and makes me aware that there are 'real'people out there. Excellent post.