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September 6th, 2003

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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