20 August << 2001 >> 18 September
I would be at a volunteer appreciation party right now, except the venue is not answering the phone. I assume that it is canceled, much like the job fair that I had planned to attend yesterday, and then today. My nation is seemingly paralyzed, and even those folks who are going to work are pretty distracted.
Watching downtown New York City burst into flames from three time zones away. My fathers office building is across the street from the World Trade Center. This morning, I spent three hours frantically redialing everyone I know on the East Coast, shaking with the thought that something could have happened to them. My Dad was checking his e-mail at the office when the first tower was hit, and then everyone hightailed it out. He made it back to New Jersey in time to see the rest of the buildings go down, including his own, which I just saw collapse on the news. And everyone else? There are so many people. I can't imagine.
What more can I say? I woke up yesterday at 11AM, and NPR was recapping the news, "A day of terrorist bombings ..." and I'm listening, trying to remember when these terrorist acts occurred, and wonder why they're the subject of the hour's programming, when it occurs to me that the World Trade Center has never collapsed before, nor do I ever recall any airplane ever crashing in to the Pentagon, and I find it suddenly very easy to get out of bed and start absorbing news.
Much of the day I spent on IRC, chatting with friends, swapping news, while listening to NPR. Other times I sat in the living room, flipping channels with the sound turned low, TV visuals with an NPR back story. Unreal.
So, I guess you can have your December 7, 1941. The day of greatest infamy has been reset to September 11, 2001. It is unfortunate that we don't have so articulate of a president to make reassuring speeches, but that is really really unimportant to the job of cleaning things up, and respecting the dead, and figuring out who did this. I think it is the dead who occupy us most of all. It is as if America has lost a family member in a grotesque, obscene, insane accident, and we're all feeling really sad, upset, and frustrated.
I can't speak to what it must feel like in New York City. I saw a picture of a friend of mine standing atop one of the towers on Sunday. My former manager has family members in New York that haven't checked in yet. Something like 200 firefighters are missing and presumed dead, with another 150 police officers, and it looks like yesterday's death toll, completely out of the blue, may completely eclipse all other tragedies as the bloodiest day in American history. It is hard not to take it personally, even if you don't know anyone involved.
On that note, I just found my number for Dave McConeghey's family in Brooklyn. It is busy. I'll try them again later. I know Chris works in Manhattan.
Well, I just got through. Chris, Dave, and Mitchell are all safe. It's really tough out there, and I think Chris was glad for the opportunity to talk about things. I left messages with Grandma and Uncle John. I called Grandma and Mom yesterday, and I think I haven't heard back from them because actually Grandma and Mom are supposed to be on vacation in Italy right now. That vacation may be extended, just because of the plane situation. Heck, they might even be in Canada!
17:59:11 Penny: all, right. What makes you "blinded by the times"?
18:00:24 dannyman: let's see ... i've lost my job, i've crashed my car. i'm 2000 miles from home. i'm running out of cash. i don't know where i'll be in two months, and crazy people are killing more americans than ever before by creative hijacking techniques. this just doesn't seem like a time where i'd be in a normal state of mind.
So, on Saturday night, I was to meet a friend at a comedy club in Sunnyvale. Moshen was tailing me in his Miata, and we had a hard time finding the place. Back and forth, back and forth, scanning the ugly suburban storefront landscape on El Camino in Sunnyvale. Suddenly, I see the place, and I spot a convenient side street to slip in to to get around to the club. Mirrors and a quick over the shoulder glance confirm I'm not about to smack in to anyone from one lane over as I turn right, when what do I see before me but a low, stone wall blocking the intersection, which you are meant to drive around, with great temerity and foresight.
At wit's end, I waste a crucial second of judgment in shock that I'm suddenly headed toward this inexplicably unanticipated obstacle. Left? Right? Stop? What the heck? That's when things got crunchy. Oh poop! Did this just happen? My front wheels in the air, I find that backing off isn't going to happen - front-wheel drive.
I get out of the car and hop up and down on the obstacle, pissed as all hell because up until now I've always taken considerable care to not wreck my car, and now, here I am, in the aftermath of some very bad crunching sounds. "Are you okay," I hear from the sidewalk, some concerned neighbors inquire. I realize that, actually, I have a number of things to be grateful for, and explain that yes, I'm perfectly fine, but I'm very pissed with myself because I broke my car.
I tried to push it off the obstacle, to no avail. I made sure the hazard lights were flashing, turned off the windshield wipers, and call AAA. The concerned neighbors donated a safety flare and a reflecty thing to encourage drivers to slow down and gawk at the scene. The tow truck shows up, as does a cop, who needs to call the photographer in because it is city property, but that's okay with the tow-truck driver, because he needs to call for backup too. Several photographs, 4"x4"s, 2"x4"s and a jack later, and the car was off to the towing lot, to be examined by my insurance company the next week.
I was cited for "Unsafe Turn." I'm thinking to contest that ... I would argue that an unmarked, stone barrier blocking an intersection is an unsafe intersection. I'll have to do a little more work to see where that idea stands. Meanwhile, the Insurance company is going to figure out if it is totaled or not, in which case they pay Honda, and then, hopefully, Honda pays me the balance, or if it can be repaired, in which case I can call up a body shop, have them tow it away and fix it up. Poor car! She bled radiator fluid and gushed windshield washer fluid, and that looks like engine oil up there, though I'm told that it is not unusual for engine oil to travel outside of the engine, these days, so it may well look worse than it is.