No wonder I've been a basket case this past week. If you ask why tomorrow's date is a surprise to me -- it's been this way for years, ever since the fourth anniversary of 9/11 when the remembrance ceremonies and publicity running up to them began to ebb -- except for the 10-year anniversary. During the first week of September my brain starts playing tricks on me; I start losing track of the date and even when I see the calendar the date doesn't register.
Until I find myself suddenly staring at the date of September 10. I mutter, "September 10, September 10. Did I forget an appointment today? Someone's birthday?"
At some point it all comes crashing back, and then I remember I do have an appointment, not on September 10 but on September 11. An appointment with remembering it all over again as if it happened just yesterday.
I was working close to the Pentagon so if the hijackers had been a bit off their calculations, I could've been toast. The final insult was that the attack on the Pentagon shut down my commuting route. But you don't want to hear about my day that day. I don't want to hear myself talk about it.
I fear I'm at risk of becoming like that batty family of English ex-serfs in Cold Comfort Farm. They can't stop living in the past. The symbolic incident for this is that something bad had once happened in the woodshed but it'd happened so long ago nobody can remember what it was. Instead of tearing down the woodshed or opening the door and cleaning it out, turning it into a garage or something, it's just Don't go in the woodshed.
My problem is that I don't live in Mashed Potato Falls, Wyoming. I live in Ground Zero. Just as they wouldn't rest until they took down the World Trade towers, they'll keep trying to hit Washington, DC because they failed the first time. Every adult who lives in this city knows this.
We carry on, of course, in the way people who live near an active volcano take it stride. It's a part of my life, one that I don't really think about, until once again I have to confront the fact that September 11 returns every year.