Friday, September 28, 2001
I have a big life event this afternoon and the anticipation is making me crazy. After 5:00 it will be all over and I can either relax and go back to "normal" or have a nervous breakdown. Let's hope for normal... :)
Thursday, September 27, 2001
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
I just re-read this month's blogs...Boy am I a negative person! Okay. Enough.
I wish it were September 10th again. That was the last "normal" day of my life. Since then, my world has been turned upside down several times. The Attack is just one of the upsets. There have been several more and one just last night. The circumstances are private and so I won't discuss them here but I just want it to be known that I'm having a hard time finding the point of all this. By "all this" I mean this life thing we have to muddle through. There is another big event on Friday that I am fretting over and if I can make it through that, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Ugh. This is really getting to me. Don't be surprised if I maintain radio silence for a while because blogging in a cryptic manner isn't really my cup of tea.
Monday, September 24, 2001
I had a change of heart about those makeshift memorials that have sprung up around New York, the rest of the country and apparently the world. I have just been so freaked by all of this that the reminders of all the death were making me edgy. I think I am seeing things more in perspective now.
I went to IKEA in New Jersey yesterday. When you leave the city through the Lincoln Tunnel you come out in Weehauken and go up a large circular ramp that gives you a sweeping view of the city. It is a beautiful vista. It was the first time I saw the skyline from across the Hudson River. I can't explain the feeling I had looking at a skyline that was so altered. It is still unfathomable that this happened and that all of the missing are still buried under the rubble. It is even more rediculous that I was going to IKEA when so many people can't even function right now. It was good to get out of the city though...although IKEA is directly across the highway from Newark Airport. Watching the planes take off and land was more than slightly disconcerting.
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
Well, I feel the old Michael climbing back into this bag of flesh I call my body. I think the anger and outbursts are being dealt with by the greater whole of myself. I still feel incredibly saddened by what has happened but anger, rage and lashing out at people isn't really going to get me anywhere. I called my stunning and sophisticated friend Rachel (Lady of Yorkshire) yesterday evening in New Zealand. It was so fantastic to talk to her. She moved from NYC to Auckland (via a quick stop home in England) in June of this year. It was difficult to see her leave NYC. Two very good things came out of yesterday's call. 1. She is doing very well in the Southern Hemisphere and sounds very happy (although she naturally misses all of her NYC friends desparately) so I feel elated to know that although she had to leave, it all worked out for the best. 2. Speaking to her reminded me of my life before the attack at the WTC. How I lived in NY without fear. How I just had fun and things were good. Although it is different now, I am determined to get into a better place in my head. Speaking with Rachel was cathartic. There was one bad thing...the call reminded me of how much I miss her being here in New York and being able to go for drinks or a walk or whatever. I guess I'll just have to go to New Zealand for a visit!
They are talking layoffs at work. I will find out in a few weeks if I am one of the unlucky ones (or lucky depending how you look at it).
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.
- Tamim Ansary, an Afgahni-American writer to his friend a professor at UC Berkeley.
...the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
Fear is sitting on my shoulder, singing a little ditty...and I can't make him stop.
I'm feeling less negative today. Yesterday's blogs were pretty alienating. I've heard from a few people and I know that the calls to find out if I was okay were based out of true concern. It's just that, well, the two largest buildings in my city have been knocked down violently. They are still smoldering. There are about 5,000+ people still buried underneath them. So forgive me if I am a little skeptical that the world is full of good people. But I realized that the people I know are good and they do care. Thankfully, they let me say things that are inappropriate once in a while especially when I am freaked out by something as major as this. Right now, I need to say lots of things that might be offensive just to get all of this off my chest. In short: We were successfully attacked and defeated by a very determined group of people. There is nothing we can do to stop this from happening again. I guess it makes me very mad and underneath it all, very afraid.
Monday, September 17, 2001
I have been remiss...
Thanks to all of you who called, e-mailed or in some way contacted me last week to make sure I was okay. It really was odd to have people seeking you out to find out if you were alive. It was odd but reassuring that I do matter to other people as much (apparently) as they mean to me.
(Now I'm going to ruin it...) But from the distance of almost a week, I wonder how much of the concern actually stemmed from morbid curiosity and perhaps even the secret desire to be able to say, "A friend of mine died in the WTC bombing..."?
This event has made me far to cynical. I apologize.
As someone who does not believe in a god or an afterlife at all, the constant blabbering about God really gets on my nerves. It was people and their zealous beliefs in their god who caused this tragedy in the first place. So hearing people saying that God will protect us or God has some kind of plan that we can't understand and all the victims were part of this plan which is just part of a higher good...well, that's bullshit. The life we have now is what we have and honestly, all that we will ever have. Isn't that amazing enough? My belief is that when you die, it's over. No more thoughts, no more love, no more light. Just dark. Just dead. It's easy for people to apply this theory to animals but for some reason they can't apply it to humans. If you think about it, it's not that bad of a thought. You die and you don't know it. It's just over. So live to the fullest now, be kind to strangers, tell your family and friends that you love them. Welcome life into your heart. It's a strange phenomenon that we can understand that we are alive at all. We need to take advantage of that understanding and use this life that we have right here and right now. I find it tragic and sad when I hear people say, "He's in a better place now." No. He's not. He's dead. Unless of course you find unconscious darkness to be a better place, which I personally don't. "God" had nothing to do with any of this. People did. Until we learn that people and life on earth are more important than any religious edict or ideology, the world will always be at war and people will always be killing each other in the name of "God".
How can I possibly not go on and basically rejoice in the fact that I am able to see the sky and the sun and the clouds and my friend's beautiful faces. Hear voices, eat lunch, take a shower, read a book, think stupid thoughts, have sex, every day things that make life just that...life. The thing I don't get is people writing stupid slogans on pieces of paper and leaving them in public places as some sort of tribute to people that died horrible deaths. What is the point? They don't comfort me at all AND they're an ugly eyesore. I know this will make some people mad at me but it's how I feel. I've seen quite a few of these public tributes. I don't like them. Especially the one on the "Imagine" mosaic in Central Park. What does John Lennon have to do with this tragedy?
I haven't blogged for a while. I guess it's because I realized that I needed to actually go out and live my life. Sitting in front of a computer and pecking at a keyboard really doesn't seem like that much of a worthwhile endeavor right now. Even as I type this, it seems trivial. I'm not the type that wants to document everything that has happened like some other bloggers. I leave that to the media. And honestly, I find the unending coverage to be trite. The media should just cover the story, not try to interpret emotions. The dumbest question ever asked is the one that went something like this...microphone shoved into woman's face, she's covered in ash and having a hard time seeing and apparently breathing. She is crying. The news person asks, "How do you feel right now? Were you afraid for you life?" The woman's response, "What!?!?" I turned off the television. I had a terrible cold last week. I waited until Friday to go to the doctor because my problem seemed minor compared to what was happening. I got an anti-biotic and feel much better now. I lived my life this weekend. I went to the movies, I laughed with friends, I went shopping, I went to the beach, I walked along the shore, but most of all I really appreciated being alive. I think that I have really been changed by this. I notice things I haven't noticed since I was a child. The way seagulls fly...the color of the sky...September in the Northeast. Everyone saw how perfect the weather was the day the WTC was attacked. It has been like that just about every day since and I truly appreciate it.
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
She got up early Tuesday to go vote and headed to work shortly after voting. She called her husband to tell him she was going straight to work to get an early start. She worked for Aoen insurance in the World Trade Center. Today, her husband is on TV explaining that he hasn't heard from her since yesterday morning. He was on TV today asking if anyone had seen her. She hadn't come home from work and he was worried. He held up her picture. They have been married for 7 years. "Has anyone seen my wife?" He doesn't know where she is.
I used to joke to friends and family that if you wanted a great view of New York City you should go to the top of the WTC. Not because it was the tallest building in the city but because it was the only place in the city that you didn't see the World Trade Center from. Now you don't see it from anywhere.
Me, New York and the Day From Hell So, after a shitty day Monday I wake up begrudgingly and slowly start getting ready for work. I get out of bed, open the shades and realize that it is a flawless September day. I have to shake the bad mood. It's just a waste of energy. I decide that 9:30 will be my start time today (which is perfectly acceptable). I jump into the shower around 8:30, no hot water. That's okay. I'll live. I ready myself, turn on the coffee maker, pour a bowl of cereal, milk, juice, etc. Flip on the news...hmm, why are they showing the WTC disaster from '93? Odd. Turn up the volume. "...has accidentally struck the top of the north Tower of the World Trade Center" says the newscaster. OH GOD! As I watch, in disbelief, it happens. A jet flies into the south Tower. Explodes. All of the TV announcers are at a loss, "what just happened?"..."was that another plane?"..."is this deliberate?"
It gets sketchy, tears well in my eyes. They say something about more hijacked planes unaccounted for. All of New York is at risk...
I try to call my folks to say I'm okay for now...no phone service. I try again. Nothing. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again. Again. Nothing. My mind starts working. Relay antennaes are on the top of the WTC. Okay, no cell phone. But I try one more time, this time my sister. I get through. I tell her I'm okay, she starts crying, I start crying. I realize that I know people who work there. I tell her that. She says, "Oh, Michael I'm so sorry..." The phone goes dead. Stays that way until 2 pm.
I decide work is a bad idea today. I run to a pay phone to call in. Fine. I run to the river to see if I can see anything, staying inside was too terrifying. I figured I'd rather see it coming. I double back to the 10th Ave and get to 33rd Street. People are coming at me in a swarm, calm but by the thousands. I stop, I talk to a guy with binoculars. Everything is in plain sight. "Do you want to look?" No, I don't. "Thanks but I'd rather not see the details." I say. He says, "How are they going to put out the fire?" "Helicopters?" I guess...how the fuck do I know?! Then it happens. The towers collapse, first the south tower...struck by a 767...a FUCKING 767. A plane. ON PURPOSE. Then, the north tower, the one with the TV antennae. It was hit by a 747. My mind swims. I can't believe my eyes. I can't fathom what is happening. I burst into tears.
They attacked my city. They attacked my home with two fucking huge Boeing jets. They killed people just like me. They flew planes into the World Trade Center. They flew fucking planes into the World Trade Center. They flew two fucking gigantic planes into the World Trade Center ("the E train stops at the World Trade Center at all times..."I mean it used to) and it collapsed. It collapsed. And so I cried.
Monday, September 10, 2001
I am so hopelessly middle-class and uncultured that it's disgusting. It's apparently beat myself up day so I figure I might as well just hate myself completely and then I'll get over it more quickly. I don't live in a glamorous apartment, nor make tons of money, nor go to "member only" parties at the Guggenheim, nor know anyone remotely famous, nor have the top-of-the line of anything, nor do I own any designer clothes, I don't even own a freaking car (which is practically mandatory for US citizenship). These things don't usually bother me but I do live in New York, a city all about capitalism, status, wealth and standing. I fail miserably at all of those things: I'm a bad capitalist (ask my creditors), I have no status ("the Youngs" of Salem NH gets you nowhere), I have $575 in my savings account (not even enough for half a month's rent) and I'll never circulate in the "in" circles ("Who is he and why is he here?). If it weren't such a nightmare, it would be funny.
p.s. Don't waste your time sending any irritating "just want to cheer you up" e-mails. I don't want them, they'll just piss me off more. ("Thanks", he says, with fake smile of gritted teeth.)
People telling me that my work sucks.
People telling me that my break up with my ex was because of "how I am".
People telling me that I'm not quite human because I'm gay.
People meeting me for one night and then stalking me because I decide not to call back.
Stalker calling me from Isreal to tell me how I should behave.
Me telling stalker that ringing a complete stranger's buzzer at 1 am is psycho.
People telling me that the cash I need today from the check I deposited Friday won't be available until the end of the week.
Well FUCK everybody! I'm pissed off today and if one more infuriating thing happens I'm going to explode.
Thursday, September 06, 2001 It's carpets! It's madness!
Saw some AbFab clips on bbc.co.uk...why can't we get it here now too??? It's madness that we have to wait!
Wednesday, September 05, 2001
I've done something that I am actually ashamed of. I don't even know why I did it. I met this guy on Sunday and it was strange because he was really interested in me. Much more than I was in him. He seemed nice enough though. One thing led to another... He seemed nice enough as I said so I gave him my phone number afterward. He called me later on Monday (the holiday) but I really couldn't be bothered so I didn't answer the phone. Well, I bumped into him Monday night at Barrage. He asked why I didn't call. (I should mention that he lives in Israel and right now I am looking for something a little more local...I mean I already have Guy covering the international front.) I played down the not calling thing and we sat and talked. I needed to go home to sleep so I said, "Let's get together for dinner tomorrow." While I was saying it, I knew that I didn't mean it. I knew it was a lie but I said it anyway. So, last night, I headed home after work and didn't turn on my phone. I went to bed early. At 1:00 am my buzzer rang, I didn't answer it but looked out the window to see who it was...it was him. THAT kinda freaked me out. Why did he come to my building and ring my bell at that hour? Definite stalker potential. So this morning I checked my messages and he had left me three. One was from 6:45 pm the night before asking where I was, he sounded really hurt. That bothered me. The second was at 7:45 saying basically, if you didn't want to have dinner with me you could have at least called and cancelled. The third was from this morning saying that he was upset that I didn't even have the decency to call. He is right. I have never just blown someone off like that. I hate when people do that to me. So now, I feel like I should crawl under a rock for being a typical male asshole. But the ringing-the-buzzer-at-1:00-am thing is a little too freaky for me, so I know that I won't call him. I guess I should have been more adult about the whole thing in the first place. I don't like knowing that to him I am a thoughtless jerk. Oy vey!
Tuesday, September 04, 2001
Went to the park Saturday afternoon. Sat in the sun. Had light dinner with Ameet. Went home. Went drinking with Alan and Mark at Chase, then Posh, then Xth Ave Lounge, then Barrage then I think I went home at about 4 am when they were kicking us out. It's kinda fuzzy.
Sunday. Hmmm. Hard to say what I did. Nothing really. OH. Went to Alan's because of Brazilian day. Then went to dinner with Nick and Ameet. We had Ethiopian food which was good. You eat it with pieces of unleavened bread instead of knife and fork. The food was great, the bread was a little tangy for me; like really strong sour dough. I'm still gassy from the whole thing. Went to Barrage after a quick pitstop at home to wash up and change. Met a guy at Barrage that I'm now sort of sorry I met. Long story.
Monday (holiday). Park with Nick. Food on the Upper West Side. Really nice pasta at a sidewalk cafe called Sesso. Sunny and bright. Perfect day (3 of 3 for the weekend) Then to ... Barrage for happy hour. I ended up getting home at 1 am. Oops. My blog is reflecting my lack of enthusiasm with being awake right now.