Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Don't Do 9/11...

You wouldn't either, if you had been there and experienced it for yourself.

I usually stay away from the television on 9/11, because I still can't watch it, and I think I never will be able to. I don't have the nightmares anymore, I don't suffer from all the associated left-overs, the PTSD, depression, the anxiety, and all the rest, like I used to -- I just have no burning desire to relive the entie experience again. Every September 11 is the same: I don't read the papers. I don't watch TV, or listen to the radio, I stay off the 'net. It's behind me now, and I want it to stay that way.

Except that when you live in New York, you can never really keep it at arm's length. Even if I don't want to be reminded, I can still expect my darkened bedroom to be slightly lit by the Towers of Light display -- even from 18 miles away. As it has been all week.

And though you try mightily to ignore that, the phone keeps ringing and bringing it all back to you.

People who haven't bothered to call me all year suddenly call and want to know if I'm alright, because, you know what day it is, right? Mostly, I think, this isn't about concern for ME, inasmuch as it's about THEM wanting to have some connection to the event. They want to be a part of the national day of grief, but have no connection to it at all...except to call Matt under the pretense of offering him some"support", or trying to keep him from killing himself.

Actually, I find that kind of concern rather...patronizing.

For a start, why is it that some of you only remember that I exist when a 24-hour national funeral service hits the airwaves (other than those times when you merely want something other than to shoot the breeze)? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you've called, I'm just wondering why you did so only after making the grisly connection between the event and the person? Or maybe, I just misunderstood the intent; perhaps it's just sheer coincidence that you've checked in on me -- that day, of all days?

Secondly, I'm past the point of needing checking up on. I'm not (as) depressed as I was then, and even nine years ago I wasn't contemplating a private necktie party, even if I was pretty fucked up. I'm doing all right; I can deal with it now, I just don't want to be reminded of it, is all. You mean well, I know, but you've just brought the subject up by calling, and then, no matter how I try to change the subject, you somehow always come back to it.

Finally, there's a point where I won't even answer the phone anymore, because I know the call is probably from someone who's going to mention 9/11, and wants me to regale them with my eyewitness version of events...again. After nine years, I pretty much know who you are when your name and number pops up on the caller-id on this date, and I'm sorry, but the story doesn't get any better with the retelling. And I really resent having to retell it, because I don't want to be a part of this ginormous orgy of grief. I've wallowed in it long enough, thank you, but just don't have the heart to tell you to fuck off. I want it to stay well-and-truly in the past.

Everyone says "Never Forget", and I won't, but I can't take the maudlin sorrow anymore, so I choose not to be a part of it at all, if I can help it. That's just my coping mechanism, and not a criticism of anyone else.

I guess anyone who has had that sortof experience has their different ways of coping; for some, that's going to an empty hole in lower Manhattan and listening to the roll call of the dead, for others, it might be a church service, and for others still, they probably get disgustingly drunk and pass out. Me, I just want to be alone...isolated. I lived, and I don't wish to be reminded of the dead.

I watched them die, after all. There's a tremendous amount of guilt in that, you know, even if it's not exactly rational to feel that way; I think everyone who watched, or everyone who lived, feels that way.

I appreciate the concern for my well-being, really, I do, but you'd be "helping" me more by leaving me alone. Call me on September 10th, or 12th, but never on the 11th.

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