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09 September 2005 @ 10:56 am
plural of apocalypse  
Last night I read the first-hand account of the San Francisco EMS workers trapped in New Orleans. A number of people linked to this. The wretched offensiveness of what they went through made me cry. I feel humanly connected to what happened, after all my rigid emotional avoidance. I cried until I could barely breathe and went to bed at nine o'clock and had an apocalyptic dream. I didn't take the time to write it as narrative; these are just notes. No especial need to read this; this is one of those times when I'm using my journal more or less as a diary, but unlocked, because then my words are also communication to the outside world.

<rhetorical>Why do I always end up sounding so stuffy and pretentious when I get meditative? Now I want to play the court jester and caper and jingle to deflate my prose.</rhetorical>

• I'm driving along the expressway into downtown Norfolk, my mom in front, driving, my dad in the backseat with someone else
• At one point I turn around to face my father--I'm actually in the driver's seat but not driving
• I notice that his car door is open and tell him this
• Looking ungrateful, he asks if I noticed it before
• I say no; I hate him
• We're going downtown to drop off someone, then we're heading to school
• I want to skip school to stay in the city
• When we arrive downtown, my mom and I enter a supermarket and start wandering through it
• I tell her I want to quit the gifted program, but am conflicted; I explain that it's only useful if I get all my credits for a high school diploma, and I don't know if I can do that because it I've missed so many classes and I'd have to take math again; even I quit now, I can at least show the gifted program attendance on my c.v.
• She gives me supportive reasons why I can quit; relieved, I tell her I'm glad that she has such strong opinions; it makes it easier for me to decide
• She says she doesn't have strong opinions
• I buy and eat a stale, pink Peep and we leave
• We enter the mall next door--a downtown mall, with a multistoried atrium, very upscale; I lag behind the others
• I can barely drag myself to the foot of the up escalator; when I do, the bottom treads aren't moving; I'm exhausted; but I eventually get on and start rising; near the top I can see my brother; he and the others are just about out of sight; I'm going to lose them
• I reach the upper level of the mall, which is a civic center that offers a variety of auditoriums for concerts
• I stand in what I think is a line, but people give me mixed information and the crowd disperses in small, disjointed shifts, until there's no one left but me; I have no ticket to enter the performance
• I wander around looking for my mother and brother, who are already inside listening to the jazz piano recital
• I wind up in a lounge, and take a seat; across the room are enormous plate-glass windows overlooking the city and the waterfront; it's a large room, broad and tall, the seats widely scattered, as in an airport waiting area; people sit here and there reading papers
• I start talking to the guy sitting next to me, who mentions that he had his e-tickets for a recital stored on his phone-pda-watch, but the battery went dead and he lost them and can't get in
• Triggered by this information, I get excited and try to explain my feelings about how telephones have lost their romance--they used to be these huge heavy bakelite things that you could pick up and brain someone with, very noir; now there are cell phones, which ruin the chance of a good story because people can always reach each other--but his battery failure has proved that they can still be good plot devices; I can't quite seem to get this out, though; he keeps interrupting
• Still trying to get my point across, I'm looking out the plate-glass windows as a transparent shade is pulled across them
• A moment later it's gone, and the glass is clear again, but suddenly I'm watching as open-air parking garages by the waterside collapse, spilling cars and billowing dust; one after the other crumbling down, followed by nearby buildings
• I'm stunned at such poor demolition planning--all those cars, I think--but then I realize it's a terrorist attack
• I get up, trying to sprint for the rear of the civic center, but I stagger weakly and then, in a kind of detached slow motion, I look down and discover that I'm naked and covered in flash burns
• The explosions were nuclear hits
• Around the room people mill confusedly, some naked, clothes burned off, others still dressed
• It occurs to me that I'm almost certain to die now from radiation sickness; it's a done deal; I feel no emotion
• Around me are other naked and bewildered patrons, mingled in with others who are still clothed--some managed to avoid the flash by random chance or by being slightly better placed to avoid direct exposure
• I go looking for my mom and brother
• Most people from the lounge are evacuating the building, but the further back into the center I go, the more people I see who are unaware of the disaster; they are exiting concerts, programs in hand, chatting, heading to the front of the building
• No one is telling them anything--I don't even stop to tell them anything--the convergence of people is like two waves meeting from different directions, but nothing is passing from one to the other
• Still naked, I try to find a place to tuck myself away before someone notices
• I end up huddling in a niche, arms wrapped around myself
• A woman employee of the center, aware of the disaster, spots me and gives me clothes, then leaves again, unable to do anything else for me
• I find a bathroom; there I meet someone I know from LJ; she recognizes me first and makes me guess her name; when I finally do, I realize that she once had short hair and now has long
• I tell her that I didn't recognize her for that reason; I categorize people by their hair and she's confused me by changing it
• Outside again, I'm still wandering around looking for my family; I keep passing a particular music auditorium from which I can hear jazz behind the closed doors; I keep thinking that someone should interrupt and tell the crowd inside what's happened, but no one does, because it's mid-performance; even though my own family might be inside, I feel the same way: inhibited by etiquette
• I wander further back into the building and notice that a woman I'd seen in the lounge--aware of the attack--is calmly entering a music appreciation class that's just about to start
• Everyone seems to be in shock or willfully oblivious
• I head back to the front of the building and see other bombs falling
• "Holy shit!" I say, hoping distractedly that *someone* will hear this and figure out that an apocalypse is occurring
• I run from the bombs because every flash of light is deadly; I keep trying to position myself in places where the light won't hit directly
• What puzzles me most: why are they dropping so many bombs on Norfolk, Virginia? It doesn't seem like a primary target
• At this time, I have the idea that I can reprise events and react to the first attack more intelligently, avoiding the mortal burns
• I loop back to the lounge where I began; at the first explosions, I run toward the back halls again; this time, because I'm wearing clothes already, the woman employee ignores me
• This seems to have been a pretty useless idea; the attacks are still coming and I don't know that I've changed anything
• I finally open the door to the jazz recital and find that the entire auditorium is empty; the music is recorded and playing in the emptiness
• I have no idea where my family might have gone; we never do find each other
• For no discernible reason, the building sprinklers go off; now everyone knows something is wrong and panic begins to penetrate in the corridors around me; there's no place to escape the sprinklers: somehow this is the most discouraging thing so far, the straw that breaks my back
• And so I wander, trying to find a place to stay dry; that's my only remaining goal
(Deleted comment)
Poshykittyposhcat on September 9th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
If I lived where you live, I'd come over tonight and make you watch bad TV with me and sip tea and eat cookies and cuddle with you...even if you didn't really like me, I'd force you to.
Trepkos: Consolation by Angstpuppytrepkos on September 9th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
"to stay dry; that's my only remaining goal"

See, your unconscious mind knows what you need to do.
Let everyone else worry about the apocalypse.
And I'm not being sarcastic.

Alizarin_NYCalizarin_nyc on September 9th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
I hadn't seen that article before and man... chills. And anger and despair.