Monday, September 11, 2006

I think, what's in my head right now are things I've said before. I think, maybe, in our lives, we keep telling a core set of stories over and over again, each of us telling different stories, the ones that fit with our own lives.

It's 1.30. In about an hour and a half, I know exactly what I was doing five years ago. I guess 9/11 is the Kennedy Moment of our generation. I was creasoting the garden shed, and my neighbour came out and said, "you better go and watch the TV."

The shed is just under my office window, and when I look out and see it, I often think of that moment. Like, in a strange way, that shed to me is mostly a signifier of the day the world changed.

I know it sounds melodramatic. I didn't think at that exact moment, the world has changed forever. And if I knew more about radical Islam, maybe I would know/have known that the world was changing well before it became obvious to people like me, conooned in my nice flat/nice work/nice friends scenario.

All week, I've felt a low level of gnawing sadness. Partly, in a kind of rememberance/mourning for the people I know who died/were affected. Partly because five years just feels a big chunk of time, but in a lot of ways, it's still as scary. Partly because it's - shortly - the time of the month, and I always get a little tearful, but never realise till later. Like, at the weekend, I briefly (like, ten minutes) became convinced someone had performed a terrible social slight towards me. Then I realised I was just at that point in my cycle where that's what I always think.

I talked with J during the week, about how I've simultaneously been drawn to and revulsed by the 9/11 TV stuff.

I saw a little bit of a 9/11 reconstruction. I don't know how I feel about it, except confused. Because the actors who played the survivors didn't look like the survivors. So you went through these terrible, horrible experiences, with slim, attractive people. And then the survivors were interviewed about their experiences, and they were sadder, heavier, just less attractive. And I got confused. I couldn't remember who was real. The attractive people I'd seen walk through the smoke, or the chunky guy sitting against the black mottled backdrop?

How do you know who's real in the action-replay facsimile world?

And, I don't mean this in a drama-drama way, but I really do feel the world is different. I think it's really a matter of time before something else big happens in London, and you don't know who or where. And also, life does just carry on. Statistically, I'm sure, it's much more dangerous crossing the road etc. And I don't go on the underground that often, not because I'm scared but because (a) I have a bus stop outside my house (b) I live in zone two, so buses still work, (c) I quite like walking (d) I might even get on my bike, soon.

And there's all that then-the-terrorists-have-won rhetoric. I mean, if I don't go on the tube, does it mean anything? (apart from it taking longer for me to get places?)

I used to have this conversation with my mum quite often, about if things were beshert (fated). I think my parents, to varying degrees, are fatalists. And I used to say, the CEO never used to ask me if the business plan was beshert or not-beshert: that's not how the world is.

Except, maybe I'm getting older. Or maybe your parents always turn out to be right. Or maybe... when your number's up, your number's really, really up. All you can do is live the best life you can, treat people well, make honey cake (low fat, this year), smile, think, be. There's not a lot else, really.

But I still feel sad. For the innocence that it feels like the world lost (some say we never had it). For the disonnance, anger, war, pain. It's not good for our (collective) skin.

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