the silence of 911

10 September 2006

I'm in the US right now, watching TV. Everybody is trying to simulate grand emotions with their 911 specials. Synthesized strings, swirling motion graphics, firemen, hugs.

One of the most amazing things about 911 itself was the complete SILENCE of the everyday. Newscasters didn't have scripts and talked like actual real people sitting in front of cameras. As I walked about the streets of lower manhattan the next day I saw everybody else just walking around the streets. Nowhere to go, just wandering around looking, pretending to go somewhere or still obeying the body's routine of walking somewhere. But there was nowhere to go, and you couldn't stay at home anymore. I slipped past the National Guard and got down onto Wall Street. 8 inches of fine white ash on the ground, my footsteps muffled exactly like walking in a Minnesota blizzard. Total silence. There was nothing to do (we all tried to give blood, but the blood banks were overflowing). What ever projects you were doing before came abruptly to hiatus just like all those commercials on TV. No commercials for days. No jokes. No politics. No bullshit.

Like a rift in time.

Then the bullshit gradually resumed, then came Osama and the Rise and Fall of George and all that. None of that squabbling concerns me right now. Once a year everybody should just shut up for the day.


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