Friday, September 10, 2004

Like I always do. Take, or leave it. I care not.

**In trying to research my "facts" from when I wrote this, I think I have the chronology of which/when each tower got hit/toppled. We called them Tower 1 and Tower 2. All the chronology reports I found call them South and North. Shit, I don't even remember *which* tower we referred to as "1" or "2". Whatever. On with it:


That’s what the Big Apple has become.

I am writing this email to let those who I have yet to verbally contact. I am alive, and well (other than a slight cough). As for the others in my midst:

Those who are definitely safe:
Carolyne and John

Those that I'm not yet sure of:
**If anyone has heard from these two, please let me know.

My cellular phone was barely of use before the one decent cell tower toppled to the Manhattan street-top (it sat upon the World Trade Center Tower 1, the first to be hit, second to fall), now it has become a paperweight. So, many of you have yet to speak with me. I'm writing an email instead.

I was nowhere near the towers as they were attacked. I just finished up my packing, preparing to catch my noon flight out of La Guardia Airport. I was making myself a nice, health-free egg, cheese, and raspberry jam sandwich as the news was announced.

For those of you unfamiliar with where I've been staying: Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Northern Brooklyn). Greenpoint is too far from the Financial District of Manhattan for me to hear any of the explosions. I watched the live film of the first hit: Tower 1 was on fire, when another plane appeared out of the corner of the screen. The newscasters became hysteric, and I had the misfortune of viewing the second hit on live TV. "Surreal" is a useless word to describe how it felt to watch that. Confused, shocked, confused, distressed, confused, angry, confused, doubting, confused as hell. While "WHAT THE FUCK??!!!" is not a proper, or acceptable way to describe a feeling, it fits best.

From there I ran outside to the Pulaski Bridge (a bridge between Northern Brooklyn and Queens, just across the east river from midtown Manhattan) to see if this was really happening.

The view was fabulous. What I was viewing was not.

The smoke from the fires stretched for miles. The bridge was packed with honking cars, and cursing or crying people. Strangers were hugging and praying, if they weren't too busy listening to radios.

After a few minutes, the mood of the crowd seemed to be turning a bit nasty. The traffic was thick, cellular phones weren't working, news was coming in that other strategic locations were under siege... it was an emotional pressure cooker. On top of all that, there were very few police on the bridge. It felt like the beginning of Bedlam. I left out of discomfort.

As soon as I returned to the house, reports came in that a third plane was in route for another Manhattan landing. I ran like hell back to the bridge to see if this was true. I don't know if another plane was indeed on its way, but upon reaching my viewing spot, there was a muffled BOOM and Tower 2 crumbled to the ground like a kicked sand castle. People began crying, praying, screaming, grabbing the chain-link fence that lined the bridge, and running around like lunatics. Cars were flying down the only open lane on the three-lane bridge, honking and careening as if suicidal. The sound of sirens, in every direction.

About 15 minutes after that, Tower 1 dropped in much the same manner as its "twin". Most of us just sat there, staring at rising clouds of dust which ruthlessly pushed north from ground zero. The insanity ended. Everyone tried to comprehend that the World Trade Center had instantly become nothing but a memory, right in front of our eyes. The only noise was the continued sound of sirens. Everyone slowly dispersed. I walked home, looking only at the ground. I didn't want to cry. I didn't want to see anyone else cry.

We don't have cable, so we only watch the local CBS station. They constantly talk about how well the city is pulling together to get through this. They aren't kidding. Based on my previous experiences here, that bridge should have erupted in raw violence. Instead, everyone prayed for each other's loved ones, asked where they could go to donate blood, and discussed the ramifications this event will have on US relations, worldwide. For once, I was impressed with the intellectual side, and capacity for compassion shown by New Yorkers.

The Polish inhabitants of my neighborhood are in "WAR MODE". The neighborhood is pitch-black. Not a single light was on after 9:30pm. Quiet... Our neighborhood is playing night-time hide-and-go-seek with terrorists, holding our breath and remaining perfectly still, so as to not give away our position. I suppose they are worried about another air attack. I don't blame them. But I'm more worried about the potential for certain elements in this city to take advantage of the fact that most authorities have their attentions on Manhattan, leaving the outer boroughs vulnerable. This city was built, maintained, and will proceed through the acts of opportunists.

If Brooklyn survives itself the next two nights, along with the possibility of subsequent attacks, I'll be thoroughly impressed by the strength of those living in New York on September 11, 2001.

The only memories of this that I would like to purge are those of the desperate souls who found it more fitting to plummet 100 stories to the pavement rather than succumb to the inferno. It was reported that some were jumping in pairs, man and woman, holding hands, all the way down. I hope CNN chose to leave that footage out of their reports. It will visit me in my dreams, to be sure.

I'll be back in Austin, soon. I'm just glad I booked a flight for noon out of La Guardia today, instead of earlier out of Newark.

>> Craig

Anonymous posted, I accidentally deleted...

So, an anonymous post was made to yesterday's entry:

1 I only thought you were an asshole when you are drunk

2 I am wrong

3 Your an asshole

4 Sorry, I take my work home

H. Keller

To which, I respond-commented:

Helen, I presume? How tactful. You are, indeed, my first... anonymous... flame-poster. You rock.

1 True, I only was not an asshole when I are drunk

2 Right on sister, praise Jesus.

3 My what? Is that "an asshole" mine? Free? What?

4 Thanks for bringing your "work" here.

But, when I went to see whether or not the formatting of my retort-post was acceptable (sometimes the date-stamp is too damn close to the final sentence, and you have to add space for that crap after you post), I ended up clicking on this little dash below the anonymous post by accident, and it was "deleted", without ceremony. That little dash killed the brilliance of Anonymous Keller. Gee whiz. I'll figure out how to undo the "delete" later. I'm too tired to fish through the interface of this thing, looking for repost functionality. For now, I just back-buttoned and copied the genius of H. Keller for this post (in an actual entry). To this end, Keller, you are a lucky turd. But you need an editor even more than I do. I hate spelling, my word choice has been described as "contrived" (uppity Econ professor from college told that to me... whatever teach), and my grammar mistakes are legion, but damn... you are a real piece of work. Get your older high school brother to proofread your flame-posts kid. Kudos, regardless, for the effort.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Just like old times! Damnit.

Last night I decided to meet up with my brother so we could share our trip stories (he was in NYC-London-Amsterdam). So, we meet up at DeVille.

Now I had no intention of getting completely sloshed, but there were some circumstances that were seriously working against stable sobriety. Namely: I was operating on four hours of sleep, two pencil-thin breakfast tacos (all day mind you, for breakfast, no lunch or dinner), and I really haven't pounded them down in several weeks (so my tolerance is shifty at best). Evil circumstances, indeed.

An hour into it, my brother finally shows up. The bartenders where killing it on a karaoke machine that had to have been brought in by professionals. The songbook was long, and it was lousy with hair-band rock. The bartenders practically abandoned the bar to hit the stage singing G&R after G&R tunes. I was pretty numb when my brother strolled in and started warming the seat next to me. Another hour after we caught up on the goings-ons and what-have-you, I passed out. Mid-sentence. At the bar. On my stool. With no warning.


Bro walked me out to the parking lot, shoveled me into the passenger seat of his car, and left with my keys to re-park my truck where it wouldn't be towed. (Very kind of him, I might add) While he was valeting my ride, I peeped my head out of his car for a nice yak. Beer frothed forth from my mouth onto the parking lot. I looked up and could see someone on stage singing something stupid, staring, horrified, at me while I yawned brown liquid. I just grinned and kept the flow going. What the hell else was I supposed to do? This kind of activity never waits for a private moment. They couldn't sing for shit, anyway. Maybe they thought their awful rendition of that Human League song was forcing me to purge. Whatever man.

Bro returns and pushes my head back into the vehicle, closes my door, and drives me to his couch. That's where I woke up this morning, feeling like I had been gang-banged by a bunch of needle-dicked hippos that preferred the ear for penetration. Bro left a bottle of Advil on the coffee table, knowing that I would be broken come morning.

I got to work wearing all the same garments as the day before, save for a button-up shirt that I had given to Bro several years back (when I moved to NYC for a stint). So, all day at work, I have had this crazy Napoleon Dynamite fro and stankin' teeth. No one has commented for the worse of it.

I guess, what I am really posting here, is that while it is rather sad to have gone so far on a school night... I cannot say that I am really bothered by it. Well, I am bothered enough to write it down, which says something, but I doubt I'd remember the evening at all if it weren't so fresh in my mind. And my mouth tastes like poo. Until I get a proper brushing done, I'll be in constant memory of last night's idiocy.

So, here's to those who ball-out every now and again. Here's to those who haplessly fall victim to their own lack of proper binge-planning. Here's to those who accidentally turn a harmless Tuesday night beer into a mini-bender. Here's to those of us who recognize that it is indeed silly to be in that situation, but are aware that we aren't alone, and that in ten years: none of it will make a squirt of piss's difference anyhow.
Real drink story to post later. Feel free to write me recommendations...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Just back from Neo Mejico

Been gone for a minute. Kickin' it out on the vast nothingness that is Northeastern New Mexico for the past week. Peaceful beyond belief. Quietness is always kept there, and every star makes an evening appearance. It was me, my mother, grandmother, and my girlfriend: Ava on this trip. Me and the ladies of my life. Fortunately, and surprisingly, no one got hurt. We drank white wine at 5:30 every evening, as my grandmother has an almost autistic need to have a glass or two at that time, every day, rain or shine. She likes her ruts, and this particular scheduled behavior is one that I could easily get used to.

We saw Dinosaur footprints, a cinder-cone volcano, a mansion in the middle of nowhere, NM, a piece of the Santa Fe Trail, Old Town in Albuquerque, and miles-miles-miles of highway. Ava slept like a baby while we drove. She's good travel company like that. I can't blame her though. When I'm tired, I hit the hay like I've been gassed. I pass out mid-sentence if that's when the sandman starts to do his thing. Bygones.

Ava and I made efforts at our creative pastimes. She is a fantastic artist, and did some fantastic sketches and colored chalk pieces. I tried to do the writing thing. I have been kicking a story around in my head for a year now, and am slowly edging it out of my brain and onto my laptop. A molasses-fast process, indeed. Sometimes, writing just happens. It starts kinda wobbly, but then picks up steam- straightens out- and then hits a rhythm all its own. That's the good kind. Then there's the forced variety. The kind of writing where you keep telling yourself "man, that's some good sh*t, you need to write that down or something." And that's the variety of writing that is so difficult because you feel like it is already written in your head. So, all you have to do is transfer it to solid form, right? Nope. Not so fast Mr. Write-a-lot. With me, the story in my brain is told SO MUCH better within the confines of my skull. Once it gets penned: it sounds trite, sketchy, totally bullsh*tted, and is so full of holes you could herd whales through the choppy plot errors. It requires much massaging to get the damn stories to make any decent sense. And then there's all this f*cking grammar and spelling to sweat. F*ck me. Being borderline retarded makes it difficult to write a cohesive story with intriguing plot movements and touchable characters. I can see why so many writers turn to Haikus to vent the blocks.

Anyhoo. New Mexico is better than apple pie. And I sleep like a baby in the clean air. If it weren't for the Amityville Horror supply of flies buzzing all over the place, all of the damn time, like some sort of famine-stricken third-world country… I'd call that state heaven. But as it is, I feel like Sally Struthers ought to be collecting change to feed me while I’m there, with flies all on my eyelids and sh*t.

Kidding. It really isn’t that bad. And seriously comparing any element of my extremely charmed and lucky life to that of those who are sincerely suffering would be both rude and proof that there is no god. I’d rather not be the poster-boy for either of those transgressions.

Moving on then.

Word to peaceful vacations. I hope yours are as pleasant as mine was.