Head up, young person
Friday, January 20, 2006
To be honest, I'm still very much depressed since I started reading 102 Minutes (see below). Let's put it this way: On 9/11/01, I was living by myself in Tennessee, and my cable hadn't yet been hooked up - a blessing in disguise as it turned out. The only things I saw of the tragedy were a series of updated AP photos on the AOL homepage. If my mother hadn't called me about it, I would have been hours until I was aware of the day's news.

Strangely, I have kept the images, videos, and stories of that day (and the horrific days to follow it) at bay by sheer avoidance. I didn't watch the news, I didn't pore over photos of people jumping out windows, nothing. I spoke with several people about their missing relatives, fielded a call from a student of mine who was beside herself, wondering where her investment banker brother could be - why wasn't he returning her calls? Maybe he stepped out for some breakfast across the street and forgot his cell phone at his desk - all we could do was guess, stuck in the middle, unable to do anything but sit and wait.

I hope that when I'm done with this book, I can say that it was a sort of catharsis...a "coming to terms" with the cold, hard facts of the tragedy, all the details I'd been avoiding so carefully. Right now, it's just painful to read (I know how ridiculous that sounds, relative to the suffering of others). It is difficult to think that perhaps my behavior surrounding the event could be perceived as callous, or even indulgent - when in reality, I was foolishly trying to convince myself that my distance from it meant that it didn't affect me, or didn't apply to my life.

It also raises questions about life, love, strength, faith, service, family, randomness -- for instance, what would this event have been like without the widespread use of cell phones? It's just massively and incomprehensibly tragic. It's a revelation, at least for me, that has been 4+ years in the making.

I am heartbroken.