Center of the Universe

September 12th, 2001 at 11:43 pm by Mark
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     Wasn’t so long ago we were there, my wife and I…

     I took her on a Holiday through the US and Canada. She’d never been before. She was awed by Chicago’s Field Museum, Toronto’s CN Tower, Niagara Falls, Washington D.C., the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the like.
     But nothing matched her mixture of fear and excitement as our walk through the streets of Manhattan, seeing the Twin Towers and climbing all those steps to the crown of the Statue of Liberty.

     The thought has crossed my mind a few times today… “What if that happened when we were there?!”

     This morning in New Zealand was like any other morning, except one of the local News sites (who I’m sure I’ll be prosecuted by if I name it — hopefully their US parent is firing the idiot responsible) said “Six people dead, as plane crashes into the World Trade Centre.”
     No big deal, no cause for alarm.

     By the time I got to work at 7:30AM, there was still nothing. I went to MSNBC and CNN.

     I was so angry. Six people dead, indeed.

     I called my wife a couple of times on her mobile to give her the news.

     A bit later, the first other person showed up at work. The first thing I heard from the Natural Born Kiwi is “Ahh, the American dollar sure is flattened!”
     What a cunt.
     I mean, the whole world’s currency is “flattened,” for chrissakes! And how could someone be so cold and emotionless to think about anything other than the tragic loss of life?
     Astounding myself, I actually stood there and said, “People don’t think like that in the States… we…”
     “Oh, yes, it is!” she interrupted. “It’s all over the news! Go look anywhere!”
     She kept talking, but I switched off. I turned and walked back to my desk, finding solace in the thought of how brief the conversation would have been had she been a man.
     I suppose I’m old fashioned that way…

     Through the morning, I watched (at times, attempted to watch) video over the ‘net about the events as they transpired.
     Eventually, the BBC (who are normally quite good, I think) reported that the US was bombing Afghanistan. This news, of course, directly conflicted with everyone else’s news. At the exact time of the report, US officials (even the President, himself!) were denying all involvement with anything that was happening in Afghanistan.
     The BBC continued to report that the Americans weren’t denying it… in direct conflict with everyone else’s news. Blah, blah.

     Family, friends and I all chatted back and forth through the day by ‘net and telephone. We passed one another bits of breaking news and not-so-breaking news.
     None of us could believe it.

     On New Zealand radio, people were calling in giving a mixture of commentary, the majority of which could be described as “speaking just to hear themselves talk.”
     Most memorable is “Yeah, nah, I figure the US brought it on themselves!”
     After a remark like that, one tends to get riled and ignore anything positive that might have been said afterwards.

     It makes me even more despondent…

     I’m American. And apparently that simple fact makes it acceptable for most everyone on these tiny little islands to treat me like shit…

     Tonight on New Zealand news, there’s a lot more “talking just to hear themselves speak.”

     Most memorable are the comments like, “We’re just gutted! Nah, yeah, we felt like this when Princess Diana was killed.”
     Somehow, that doesn’t mean shit to me. I suppose maybe if she’d died amongst several thousand and there were a few less memorable landmarks in the world because of it, perhaps it would. Or am I just missing the point…?

     Somehow, I doubt it.


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