Sunday, September 10, 2006


Since then a lot of stuff has happened.

The big stuff I guess we all know. Plane crash in Queens. War on Terror. Hussein captured. Bin Laden not captured. New airport security. Intelligence agencies sharing information. Homeland Security. Blackout. Tsunami. Bombs on buses and trains. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Brangelina. Suri. Newer airport security.

Other stuff happened in a space of time that seems like the blink of an eye to me.

On September 21st 2001 Alita turned 3 months old. She's 5 now. She lives in a different neighborhood, she goes to a new school, she talks, she remembers, she loves, she walks, she runs, she dances. I saw her today and she's a real, live, old human being. In September of 2001 we were still wheeling her up and down the street hoping against hope that she'd stop crying.

I have a new home. A home that I (and the fine people of Wells Fargo) own. It has grown up furniture in it that I've bought and inherited and pictures of my people. My name is downstairs in the directory next to the buzzers and my neighbors know me.

Quewlkat graduated from high school and went off to college. A week ago she got on a plane for another year abroad.

LilyB graduated from college and has gotten herself 2 jobs and learned a lot about the working world in the process. She's moved into her first away-from-the-family apartment and gotten her first away-from-the-family pet.

I let some people go. Not in the dying way, in the I can't have this anymore way.

MarkyB and C-ann got married.

ProfDoc got married.

Miflohny got married.

I've had 2 new jobs.

The first job put me inadvertently in the war against Bush. We lost the election but we made a point, we helped get the ball rolling and I hope we were instrumental in getting the pendulum swinging back toward sanity.

My newer job is better for me. It's part time. The people are wonderful. More parts of the work are ones that I can feel good about. And I can feel great about the time that I have to work on other things.

I wrote 2 plays. I put one of them on tour. I've made a DVD and started to record a CD.

Both C-ann and Chili have gotten their teaching certificates.

Both The Athlete and Blondie Girl have started high school. Him 3 years ago and her a couple of weeks ago.

Both Audio Girl and Mrs. X got cancer. Or, if we're to believe their doctors, discovered cancer that had been there for quite some time.

Auntie Blanche moved to a nursing home.

MusicBaby happened.

A lot of stuff has happened, a lot of major progress, things have moved forward. Moved "on" if you want to put it that way. I don't think I do.

The progress seems both swift and painfully slow. It's as though we move along but we're constantly looking out of the corner of our eye to see if this other thing, this unwieldy, uninvited companion, is keeping up.

I read an article in the Times a few months after 9/11 about how humans internalize their surroundings. When we were nomadic we followed movement patterns over the course of years. We were taught from childhood to turn left at the willow and cross the stream by the big rock and to take the long way around by the cave with the unfriendly mammoth in it. We do the same thing with our commutes now, relegate them to our subconscious, to muscle memory. One of the reasons that moving homes is such a profoundly difficult experience is because we have to use our conscious brains to process all this information. We have to stop reading, or daydreaming or silently screaming along with our iPods to think, "one more stop, exit left, up the stairs, 2 blocks, wait for bus." It takes a while for the subconscious to learn the routine.

On 9/11 the commute got changed, both literally for the city, and figuratively for everyone. Just when we get it, it changes again. A cynical (read: realistic) person might think that the powers that be intentionally change the figurative commute on us when we begin to get it because when we're comfortable we can begin to see their bigger picture and any flaws that might be painted in it.

It's exhausting learning the new commute. It's discouraging. Sometimes I'm too tired.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful rundown. We moved after 16 years to a new house exactly one month before Sept. 11. Almost exactly one year later, I left a job I'd had for about ten years and ended 18 years of working in NYC. It's a pivot point for a lot of change for me. Change that is still happening with no real clarity re the future. But I look at the future very differently now.