Friday, September 23, 2005

First Thing

Exiled in Alexandria, waiting out the floodwaters in New Orleans, waiting for the arrival of the Lake Charles contingent who are fleeing Rita, waiting for something to seem normal again.

The great American disasters of the 21st century are clinging to me, tracking the path of my personal history and changing my story. I try not to take it personally.

On the morning of September 11 2001, I was on a PATH train from my home in Mid-town Manhattan to work in Jersey City. I came up from the darkness of the train tunnels to a crowd looking back over the Hudson at two burning towers. "That's terrorist shit," I heard someone repeating. A man in a suit came up the escalator behind me, talking into a cell phone: "I was on the last train out. They just stopped all trains from World Trade."

A year later, Sarah and I moved to New Orleans. I've never felt as much as home anywhere. But for now, Katrina has chased us out.

And now lovely Rita has decided to wreck the town I grew up in. Lake Charles is emptied; my relatives, people who would normally never evacuate, are heading up to Alex.

As I said, I'm trying not to take this personally. But blogs being the self-indulgent medium they are . . .


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