Saturday, September 11, 2004

I’ve been watching the history channel. Two films about 9/11 in a row. Details. Reliving the details.

Is this what happens when you can’t agree what something means, three years on you are still rehashing the details, over and over again, minute by minute, second by second, till you’re sick of them*?

I remember a detail. I am in the post office. I am in a hurry because Youngest is at her ballet lesson and I have to pick her up in about five minutes. And there is this big long queue. No one is saying anything. Do they know? I ask myself. Have they heard? No one seems tense or nervous, no one except me. I am hysterical. I know I am hysterical. I’m sorry I took Youngest to her ballet class. I’m sorry I didn’t keep her close to me at home. I want to have her near me, to hold her to me, and keep her safe. I am anxious to pick her up and hug her tight. I am terrified I may never see her again.

The queue moves slowly, I am going to be late. Finally I am next. A woman rushes in. Her mother is waiting in the car, could she please cut in front of me? And I open my mouth and I yell at her that I am late for picking up my child, no she can’t cut in front of me, she can wait in line like everyone else. She looks at me strangely. Everyone in the queue is looking at me. Who is this nutcase? I should be embarrassed but I am too agitated to care.

Am I the only one here who knows that the sky has just fallen in?

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*Afterthought: I meant no disrespect to the memories of the victims when I talked about rehashing the details.

What bothered me was that the films I saw today didn't once mention that someone did this, that it didn't just happen.

If you had been fresh off the spaceship from Mars, and you had watched these films, you would have thought that 9/11 was probably a very unfortunate, freaky air traffic accident, and that the real culprits were the people who designed and built the Towers so shoddily (first film), or no one at all (second film). In the second film, a guy shouting enraged threats at 'the people in the Middle East' was regarded with patient compassion, something about not judging people on such a day and that his words were clearly just the result of his terrible fear. On the other hand we got to see a lot of people holding hands and singing 'Imagine'.

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