I'd written a fairly large entry, last night. A thousand words, at least. About compassion and my discouragement at the media for not trusting us enough to mourn what happened last year in our own private ways. About cardboard and plastic patriotism, grocery bag flags handed out free at Jewel, about my unease at the idea that so many cheaply made trinkets will inevitably resurface ground into expressway shoulders by SUV treads. About my inability to know who to be, yesterday, how I should carry myself, if I should laugh. About being melted down by circumstance, reshaped into a new being. About my exhaustion and disgust with people who've become so cynical as to crack jokes about it, did you at least get a handful of magic beans when you sold your soul? Don't let the media's abhorrent treatment of this tragedy calcify you so that you forget it was so terrible in those buildings that people threw themselves to sure death rather than staying. It just as easily have been someone you care about, if you care about anyone. It just as easily could have been you.
To wit: I don't think jokes about brutal death are funny. I also don't think it is humorous to joke about setting someone on fire because you do not agree with them. And no, I do not feel this country deserved 9/11, I do not feel it was payback or a call to arms, I think it was senseless and horrible and too many people died because of circumstances they really did not have influence over. Nobody deserves September 11th. Nobody deserved Hiroshima, Panama, Pearl Harbor, the train derailing in Rafiganj yesterday, highways collapsing on top of themselves in California twelve years ago. People die because of hatred and stupidity, ignorance and crazy shit nobody sees coming. People die. It's not fair. Nobody deserves any of these things, but they happen, they kill the innocent and the not so innocent, and we who survive have to survive in a world where we go on and others do not. So if you want to imply that your still being here 366 days later is because you were somehow better than those names they are reading off on channel 2, if you want to tell me that those people got what was coming to them and you (of course) being so much more politically aware/open-minded/alternative lifestyle/anti-capitalism/anti-family values would never be snapped off like the kitchen lightswitch because you happened to be standing in the way of someone else's agenda--go ahead, make your jokes. Maybe you're right. Me, I'm just another fragile bag of bones who could just as easily pull too fast into the wrong intersection tomorrow morning. What makes me different hardly makes me invulnerable.
I wrote my not so little entry and I ran the spellcheck. At full screen and the error hits. And I am locked into the Endless Retry Cycle. And it's three in the morning and my hands are heavier than I realize. Control/Alt/Delete. Nothing happens. Hit it again. Nothing happens. Hit it again. Nothing, nothing. You aren't supposed to do this more than once, but nothing ever happens when you just do it once--you realize this, right? Hit it again and hold. Too long. And like drawing in a breath before going underwater, like that moment before something horrible happens when everything becomes absolutely still, the computer pauses. The screen holds. The computer gasps. The screen flickers. No, I'm screaming, no, at three a.m., no. I save drafts always, I didn't save it this time. -----no,no,no,nonononononono----and just like any reboot, even one done properly, the screen plunges into black.
I put my head down on the desk and cried.
It really had nothing to do with the entry.
We are little things with flailing arms in an angry black sea. We are split apart and forced together by arbitrary crosswinds, by undertow with its own interests first. Hit the keyboard too hard, kiddo, you'll be sorry but I already was. I didn't know what to do so I gave up, I went to bed. I fed what was left of the entry to hungry dreams. People keep saying: what do I have to say about this? What hasn't been said?
Yesterday wasn't as close to 9/11/01 as 9/10/02 was. It wasn't as far as today is. It's arbitrary, really, it doesn't really mean anything, it's numbers lining up on an odometer, it's four o'clock on a Thursday afternoon. Yesterday we were farther from September 11th than we have been in an entire year. It rained, yesterday. I ran through a slick parking lot under a gray swirling sky. The thing about time is we never run out of it. There's always more space between.