September 16, 2001
A couple of things that I should let you all know:
- I am fine overall, and doing better emotionally.
- I really, truly appreciate all the kind words and emails and calls.
- I haven't updated much the past short while, and haven't replied to any of the emails because I am sick. Sick as a dog. Coughing, sneezing, fever, the whole bit. And it's been getting worse. So please forgive my ill-mannered lack of response.
- Yes, I know the Voice site is down. Believe me, I know.
- No, I haven't been given a hard time by anyone due to my (real or perceived) ethnicity. Just one of many reasons I am proud of my fellow New Yorkers.
- I have seen more examples of the beautiful, pervasive, almost overwhelming grace and compassion of New Yorkers, Americans, and humans in general in the past week than in most of the rest of my life combined.
- I am soul-tired. Well beyond weary. Fatigued to my core.
- I am hurt that no part of anyone's plan for the future seems to include (at least from the perspective of popular opinion and mainstream media) any introspection, any concern that an environment has been created where a people as beautiful and wise and strong and loving as Americans could be seen as a mortal enemy by a group of people.
- I am, more than ever, fiercely proud to be an American. It is more an intrinsic part of me than ever before. My natural inclinations towards pacifism, forgiveness and non-confrontation have relegated me to the familiar position of holding a decidedly minority position. I feel there is nothing more American than that.
- Yes, I do wish I weren't single right now. Someone to hold, who would hold me back, would heal me in a way that I fear I can't do myself.
The most healing thing I've been able to focus on was the discussion I had last Sunday night. Two good friends revealed what I had suspected, that their marriage is going to yield a surprise baby in a few months. I was in their wedding. The groom is one of my oldest friends, whom I met on my 5th birthday, which means that the other day marked a full 21 years that we've been friends. And now this guy, whom I still think of as a young doofus kid like me, is gonna have a kid of his own.
It's something I've only done a few odd times since I've lived in Manhattan, but I got off of the train on the way back from their apartment Sunday night and instead of transferring right to the train to take me home, I wandered around the extreme southernmost parts of downtown. My wanderings took me to about 2 blocks from the World Trade Center, although i honestly didn't spend as much time looking up at the towers as I now wish I had.
I kept looking back up at the Empire State Building, on the streets which had enough gaps between buildings to let me see it. I hate to say I prefer the ESB to the WTC, but a fella never forgets his first love, now does he? I had interviewed for a job a block away from the Center in April, and I took a look at that company's offices, too. All the while my mind was lost in the ruminations of what it is to make a life, to be a parent. How woefully unprepared I'd be for the same, and how ready, despite their own misgivings, my friends were. I walked around the streets for about 45 minutes before the preponderance of rats creeped me out sufficiently and I flagged a cab to take me back to somewhere near my familiar train stop.
At the time, I felt immature. My natural competitiveness made me feel like I should be at the stage of life that my friends are, that I had somehow gone off track because I didn't have what they have: a couple of Ivy League degrees, a nascent marriage, and a child on the way. But now... I guess everything changes. I am just truly, profoundly happy. I am lucky beyond desire or imagination. I am in the city I love. I have my family and my friends either immediately around me or just a phone call or email away.
Last Sunday, I thought that a child on the way was just good news from good friends. A week later, I think knowing of an impending birth may be the most profound, most hopeful thing that any of us could possibly be witness to. It's not something I say often, since I'm not a person who believes in religions or gods, but it's true: I'm blessed.