full life

(no subject)

I just looked over my entries from previous 9/11s, including the day of. It's staggering to think that it's been 5 years since the worst day of all time. I was 25 then, temping at my current company's old offices - and maybe 6 months removed from my previous temping gig at the WTC. I remember being in the elevator and hearing one guy tell another that he thinks a plane just crashed into the WTC. Shortly thereafter I got to a window and I could see it for myself - and then I'd look down at my computer monitor and see it there, too - until the internet basically froze up because everyone was on it at the same time. I remember frantically trying to get a hold of Katharine - the WTC, among other things, housed a great deal of NYC's cell phone service, which (obviously) meant that cell phones were more or less useless - finally getting in touch with her and agreeing to meet at our friends' apartment in the East Village. (Of course, I also had to tell my supervisor at my company that I was leaving, and we'd worry about my time sheet at a later date.)

I walked down Lexington Avenue from 53rd Street... the air was yellow. Crowds of people would gather by storefronts, looking at televisions in the display windows. The farther south I got, the more militarized the city became; there were tanks by the time I got into the 30s. Also, by the time I was in the 20s, I was seeing people who were walking up, from down there... covered in dust and debris, their faces impossible to describe. Every so often the city would get buzzed by F-16s and everyone would look up, startled. I remember making it down to 14th Street and 1st Avenue, and a bus's engine backfired and everybody jumped. I met up with Katharine; we decided to start smoking again, so we bought some cigarettes and beer and went up to Devin and Kym's place and watched the news for 6 hours or so.

Kath was living in Brooklyn Heights at the time, which was much closer than Woodside, and we'd heard on the news that there was limited subway service... so we trudged over to West 4th and took the wierdest subway ride of all time. It was absolutely jampacked and, also, dead silent - except for 2 teenage girls who were bitching about the lack of air conditioning (which, in a wierd way, was kinda reassuring - that New York hadn't lost the ability to bitch about stupid shit in the midst of utter catastrophe, which meant that there was light at the end of the tunnel).

Our emergence in Brooklyn was deeply surreal; the sky was thick with smoke, the ground covered with papers and debris; it felt like we were on the set of some disaster movie, although the smell is what reminded us that we weren't.

The next morning we walked over to the Promenade, where at least a thousand people were gathered to look at... well, it. We took pictures; everybody took pictures. Not that we needed them; it's impossible to forget what we saw.
I cannot believe it has been five years already, and I can't believe it's only been five years.