I've adjusted to life in Lowell. I think I'm going to be
quite happy here.
I get more homesick than I thought. When Ari moved to
Boston and told me how she felt, I never thought I'd get the
same way. Well, I do :-).
I'm setting up a Wiki to organize myself, I have been
dealing with 800 little text files for too long. . . the
front page can have an immediate to-do list, then I can have
Projects, Investigations, etc.
I realized this is my first post since the terrorist
attacks. Ouch. I got back from breakfast after the second
plane had hit---I was almost in the elevator when Grant (a
suite-mate who has since left school due to activation by
the Armed Forces) grabbed me and brought me into the
see what was happening. I was absolutely floored, watching
the smoke pour out
of the tops of the buildings, wondering how the people above
those points were
going to escape, how long it would take to put out the fire,
wondering why it
had happened in the first place.
Over the next few minutes, that TV room filled up with
students. We were
confused when we saw "something" happen to one of the
coverage of the first collapse was at a funny angle, and it
didn't really look
like the whole thing had fallen. They said that it looked
like part of the
building, or the facade, had broken.
There was no confusion about the second one: the top of
the building sank
into a cloud of smoke and fire, and then everyone in the
room gasped as we saw the
tower blow itself apart floor by floor. The cloud of smoke
spreading over the streets, like watching a nuclear
explosion in reverse.
At some point everyone had taken a break, and I was the
only one in the
room. They rapidly cut away from Manhattan covered in smoke,
unidentifiable scene of devastation. It was the Pentagon on
You know that funny camera trick they use at certain
moments in a film, where the
person in the foreground seems to move toward the camera but
the "depth" of the
scene seems to grow, so that the background is moving away
at the same time?
It's often used to give the effect of reality distorting,
disintegrating, twisting into something malevolent, like
the scene in the movie Poltergeist when the woman is trying
to run down a hall
that seems to get longer the more she runs.
That was what it seemed like. Nobody knew how far it
would go, how many crashes there would be, what awful
disaster was going to happen next.
Several times over the last few years I'd stayed with a
friend just 2 blocks away from the World Trade Center, and
shopped in that mall underneath the complex. I'd been in
Brooklyn in late August, when we had to cancel a show
because of equipment problems, and had hours left over to
shop in Manhattan or see the sights again---previous trips
had almost always been rushed because of the show schedule.
But we didn't take advantage of the time, and simply went
home. Now I wish I had taken a tour and seen the city from
the top of the towers. Ari and I were in Boston together
recently, and decided to go to the observation deck of the
Hancock tower---she'd done it, but I hadn't, and I wasn't in
the mood last time we'd been downtown in the summer. We
found out the deck was closed indefinitely.
I have to confess---before Sept. 11, I barely knew
anything about the World Trade Center other than it had been
bombed when I was a freshman in High School. I drove into
NYC several times a year since 1999 without really
recognizing specific buildings from the highway. Absurdly,
I'd walked right by them and underneath them without having
looked up and known they were the tallest in the city.
George Will has written something to the effect that
these attacks brought to a close a remarkable decade in
which Americans were not preoccupied with foreign affairs. I
don't know whether to be happy or sad that the
Buttafuoco/Lewinsky/Hanging Chad years are over.