Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Helicopters. Why do I keep hearing helicopters out the window? I suppose there will be a lot of that for another day or two, but it's adding to my feelings of agitation. While I like John's suggestion to Get Off The Internet for the day tomorrow, I doubt I can actually commit to anything other than making coffee and playing the day by ear. Last night I came home, plugged into the internet, surfed, turned on the TV, and found myself watching a show about firemen. Yes, one of those documentaries. I kept getting this feeling that I shouldn't be watching, this feeling of invading their privacy, although clearly, in interviews and firehouse footage and such, they consented. There was a point where one of the guys was talking about how, a few weeks after, they all seemed to be having these stupid angry arguments over trivial stuff, stuff that never mattered. And I remember that for me, for several weeks, if I was talking to anyone close to me for more than 5 minutes, I would start shouting - it didn't matter what they said, they were wrong, and the only way to show that was to yell at them. Somehow, in all my daily interactions with strangers or near-strangers (postal clerks, cab drivers, store clerks, jay-walkers, whatever) I was patient, and calm, and happy (thankful, even) to see live, breathing people. But get me near anyone I truly had cared for in the past, and the agitation and anger was unbearble.

2 years ago, I lived alone, had no boyfriend, and was unemployed. I had no schedule and no commitment to be with anyone or be anywhere. I am pacing, I am pacing. I don't like this. I wanted to write something, and I am getting aggravated. I need air. I need exercise, I need to breathe. I can do this. OK, where was I? For those first few weeks, I did 3 things - slept, watch TV, and roamed around the city on my bike. The bike riding was good, but it started off in the safest, smallest of circles in and around the neighborhood. Checking, checking on things - trees, sidewalks, parks, still there, still there. Each night I got a little closer down there, and at one point, lost with some cops stopping me and telling me I can't go in the direction I was heading in. I stammered something about trying to get back to the Lower East Side, one guy pointed me in the right direction, patted me on the back like a little lost child, and told me to take care of myself. My brain is filling up with teeny tiny memories like that; the handful of candles down the street here with crayon-drawn signs in hope that there'd be survivors. Imagine that? Today I am reading that the last person rescued was at around noon on the 12th, and yet I seem to remember weeks of digging and praying. My schoolteacher friend in tears in the middle of Ave A, 2 days after, having had a long day of calming and nurturing his kids, and no one to calm or nurture him.

No point, no point at all to this. I need to be at work in an hour, and I thankfully have tomorrow off, all to myself. I think a heavy dose of merely being outside, staying away from this little tiny place that was my refuge, but each noise from the outside world reminds me of those days, and I feel it would be better to be out there, rather than struggling inside. The weather promises to be nearly identical to 2 years ago - sunny, 70's, a handful of clouds. But the odd thing about the fall of 2001 was, cliche' as it sounds, falling back in love with this city. On the 13th, I emailed my relatives with a brief "I'm OK - here's a few thoughts" letter - for some reason I had to declare, to them, to myself maybe, that this is my home, there's no place I'd rather be. Tomorrow should be the day to act on that, and to experience the world just outside my door.