amazing Ambiance


Kamis, 01 September 2011

amazing Ambiance

How to Remember 9/11

Posted: 31 Aug 2011 07:30 PM PDT

How to Remember 9/11

August 31, 2011 at 10:30 pm (By Amba) (, )

I was determined not to—once was enough—and then I was walking past the IFC Film Center this afternoon and . . . (the following copied from Facebook, where I sometimes write when I think I have something to say too brief for blogging; in this case I was wrong).

Impulse-bought a ticket to see "Rebirth."  What did it was probably oblique personal connection to the late FDNY Capt. Terry Hatton, whose friend is one of those interviewed. His wife was Mayor Giuliani's personal assistant Beth Petrone; her brother was the publicist we'd hired b/c I had an article abt J coming out in Oprah's magazine (it appeared 9/10/2001).

Small, silver lining: Hatton and Petrone had been trying to conceive; afterwards, she discovered she had, & daughter Terri was born the following year.

The movie is very, very good and very moving in the parallels it finds between the rebuilding of bodies, lives, and buildings — in all cases a halting, back-and-forth process, more complex than you might expect. The people whose lives were followed through the years from 2001 to 2009 were amazingly brave about revealing their emotions. This was sort of the premiere and the filmmakers were there to answer questions, as well as two of the principals. After the film I felt absolutely compelled to stay and talk to Terry Hatton's friend, Tim Brown, which was absurd because my connection to the family was so tenuous, but they were "my" 9/11 family nonetheless. Terri Hatton is "doing great" and still has on her wall cut-out heads of Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake — and Tim Brown! The film will be at IFC film center down the block from me for some weeks and will air on Showtime on or around 9/11.

There's also a marvelous middle-aged Chinese-American woman in the film, Ling, who was very badly burned and went through 40 surgeries trying to regain freedom of movement constricted by terrible keloid scarring. In spite of everything, she is FUNNY. She was there and I got to tell her she was my hero because she was funny. And I got to point out to her that when she got up her "reserved" sign was stuck to the seat of her pants, which was very much in her spirit.

This is the way to remember 9/11 — not static but dynamic.

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Senin, 29 Agustus 2011

amazing Ambiance

The Hurricane and the Death of “Here”

Posted: 29 Aug 2011 08:48 AM PDT

The Hurricane and the Death of "Here"

August 29, 2011 at 11:48 am (By Amba)

Trying to find out what might have happened to a friend's house near the water in Westport, CT (I first Googled "Irene Westport" and frustratingly got a list of residents named Irene), I came upon this in a news item about a man stranded on foot just before the hurricane:

It was in Westport that he saw more police officers drive by without asking what he was doing than anywhere else. "I'm just really surprised that no one offered to help me," he said Sunday. "I know people are really distrusting these days. But you think people are coming together, looking out for each other. No one even asked: Where are you going in the rain?"

This struck me because it matched up with my experience in very different Greenwich Village.  I'd had a fantasy that the hurricane would bring the people in my little building together.  The scattering of old-timers who'd welcomed me back so warmly and the more transient young people who exchange friendly "Hi!"s at the mailbox would check up on each other, make sure we all had what we needed, make a plan to join forces and even party if the power went out.

None of it happened.  Mind you, I didn't try to make it happen, either.  I mostly sat back and waited and observed.  Would the young people show any concern for the old loners?  Would any of the old-timers welcome the excuse to reconnect? I did check up on my neighbor just below me, a likewise one-year-widowed Irish musician (don't cry for him, he reportedly already has a girlfriend, an eventuality his dying wife blessed, and is doing well).  He was alone but said he had everything he needed and shooed me out pretty quickly, maybe absorbed in something on TV.  Throughout the hurricane there was not a knock on the door or a voice in the hallway.  (Of course, some had gone away.)

By contrast, enormous caring and concern was expressed by my (and no doubt by everyone's) social "cloud," via Facebook, e-mail, and phone.

So here we sit, in adjacent cubicles, wired in to our far-flung, nebulous networks, with physical presence and proximity meaning next to nothing.  Only if the power had actually gone out would we have been forced into each other's company.  What's this all about??  I find it creepy.

UPDATE:  In another CT news item, an old man trying to get to a shelter couldn't, as they say, get arrested:

The retired Bridgeport carpenter woke up in his Isinglass Road home to a power outage that included his phone, so he tried a different way of calling for help.

"I couldn't call out," Belus said, "so I got a couple of big pots and pans that I was banging on to signal for help, but I live deep in the woods." [...]

Belus said that he finally drove his car up to the head of his driveway and got out. His initial gestures for help failed as motorists sped by without stopping.

Finally someone pulled over and called local emergency personnel. Belus was driven to the shelter in his Buick by a Shelton firefighter, emerging from the vehicle with his cane and a box of medications.

Meanwhile, I am very concerned to hear from Karen, since Vermont reportedly was hard hit by wind. Karen, I'm sure you have a lot on your hands, and possibly no power, but give us a report when you can.  Did all the cows, calves, and horses weather the storm?  Did your neighbors look out for each other?


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