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9/11

It's that time of year again. Lots of stuff on TV about September 11. Some are heavy analyses by structural engineers about how exactly the towers fell, while others focus more on the recollections of survivors. Some focus on how this has affected "Homeland Security", and others focus on the motivations behind the terrorists' actions. Some even focus on the communication and cooperation -- or lack thereof -- between the fire department and police department during the disaster.

For some reason, I feel compelled to watch these shows. It's as if it's that morning again, and I'm huddled in front of the television, unable to understand what is happening in front of my eyes, unable to understand how my world is changing.

It's as if some confused little part of my brain feels that if I watch enough of these shows, eventually I will finally understand.


Edited To Add: I've done some more thinking about this, about what exactly it is that I'm finding difficult to grasp. And I think I've figured it out:

Hundred-story buildings don't turn to dust in a matter of seconds.

My visceral confusion isn't about the people who died ... it isn't about the terrorists ... it isn't about our fucked-up foreign policy.

It's about physical objects not being able to just disappear.

I learned this as a small child ... we all did. We learned about the permanence of objects. If mom hides the toy, it isn't really gone. We can go looking for it. Because stuff doesn't just disappear.

And so, even two years later, I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around two skyscrapers basically vanishing. What happened to all those desks, computers, books, chairs, refrigerators, microwave ovens, plants, filing cabinets, and meeting tables? What happened to those buildings? How could they just turn to dust? That isn't supposed to happen!

How the fuck did this happen?

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
rollick
Sep. 7th, 2003 02:34 am (UTC)
I had the same problem, watching the footage. The problem was in part that it all happened on a scale bigger than television. They could show us the buildings crumbling from a distance, and from a vantage point far enough away to take it all in, those buildings just disappeared into a cloud. Afterward, they could show us closeups of the wreckage. But they couldn't show us the whole picture, because there was no far-away vantage point from which the wreckage could be seen and comprehended. Just looking at a handful of girders… well, who hasn't seen a construction site at some point in their lives?

I still find it hard to believe that those buildings came down the way they did.
webmacher
Sep. 7th, 2003 10:58 am (UTC)
And so, even two years later, I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around two skyscrapers basically vanishing. What happened to all those desks, computers, books, chairs, refrigerators, microwave ovens, plants, filing cabinets, and meeting tables? What happened to those buildings? How could they just turn to dust? That isn't supposed to happen!


I think they turned into dust that is now in the lungs of New Yorkers, thanks to the White House leaning on the EPA so they didn't warn people, and reassured them that it was safe... grrrr.
wild_irises
Sep. 7th, 2003 10:03 pm (UTC)
This makes complete intellectual sense to me, and basically, I agree. However, my closest friend in NY lives eight very short blocks from Ground Zero--certainly less than half a mile. He couldn't go back to his apartment for days (except to rescue the cats), and when he did go back it was completely covered with dust.

He's an annual sufferer from bad bronchitis; I thought for sure this would make his health a thousand times worse. He hasn't had bronchitis since.

Go figure.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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