newest entry 2002-09-11 9:30 a.m.

Not closure, but a proper dose of solemnity to usher in this sad day: we went to see the procession of NYPD bagpipers and drummers cross the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun came up, after their march across Brooklyn.

Tonight, church or music or both.

Inspired by the rather brave Salon article about "forbidden thoughts" people had on and around 9/11, I will recount some of my ungenerous and unheroic moments that I was too shy to tell you, diary, a year ago.

Shortly after we got the news that the towers were hit, I still managed to have a fight with my sister (via e-mail) about a family situation that had nothing to do with the tragedy. .

I also remember, in the days following the attacks, feeling an echo of what I used to feel when, as a kid, my other sister would have a psychotic break, or my dad would fly into one of his patented rages: the thrill of violence and the clattering sound of monotony being shattered. Fear, certainly, but also the heart-pounding, metallic-tasting pleasure that comes with fear. And then the gauzy decrescendo, when everybody is all helping hands and open hearts and snugglin’ on the couch. Genuine, heart-crushing sadness, but a touch of pleasure and pride in the sadness, too. I don't know how fucked up that is, but I don't think I am the only one who felt strangely aglow during those days.

I remember visiting my in-laws in Chicago in early October, and feeling quietly (and then, when I was alone with AMA, not so quietly) outraged that none of them really seemed to care what had happened in NYC, or that real people actually died. I felt angry and morally superior to anyone who didn’t “get it.” Not my finest hour.

I felt annoyed when the Post and Daily News would list information about firefighters’ funerals, urging us to attend. I’d think, “What about the civilians who died? Firemen are expected to face danger in their work, but accounting temps and pastry chefs are not.”

I remember sitting in a restaurant surrounded by yuppies one night, thinking, “I can’t stand these people…and yet these are the kind of people who I’ve been reading about everyday in Portraits of Grief." And I wasn’t sure where to file that thought, except to try to summon compassion for the smug cell-phone slingers all around me, and to continue reading the portraits anyway.

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