Mighty Girl
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contact: maggie at mightygirl dot net

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9.28.01 MAN, I HATE THAT
"Looking into your eyes, I see more than I came to address."
(from Peter Gizzi's "Another day on the pilgrimage.")
1:30 p.m.

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Me: Can you take me to 2500 Smith Street please?
Cabby: Sure. Lot of gays live in your neighborhood.
Me: Yeah. I guess they do.
Cabby: But you aren't a gay, are you?
Me: ... No.
Cabby: (Smugly satisfied at correct guess.) Me neither. I like gays, it's my job to like them. But I'm straight person myself, so occasionally it's nice to see the straight people. You know, you gotta have equilibrium.
Me: I never thought of it that way.
Cabby: What was going on in there?
Me: A dance.
Cabby: What kind of dance? Everybody looks nice.
Me: Lindy. A bunch of people are in from out of town for an exchange.
Cabby: Yeah, you look nice. All dressed up.
Me: (Shifts uncomfortably in seat.)
Cabby: (Leans out window jovially, calls to young guy walking down the street.) I got another one! (Extends hand.) Gimme five!
Young guy: (Pulls eyebrows together).
Cabby: (Motions with hand.) Gimme five!
Young guy: (Gives reluctant five.)
Cabby: That's the last guy I dropped off.
Me: He didn't seem too enthusiastic.
Cabby: Yeah, "I want a cab ride, buddy. Not an experience!" Heh....
(Swipes his hand over face, yanks ear, and rubs eye in a single rapid motion.)
(Minutes pass, Cabby talks incessantly in surprisingly intelligent albeit coked-up fashion. I learn he is 53, I learn he attended the same college I did, I learn he lived in Mexico with his wife and son, I learn he is higher than a kite looking for God in a tornado.)
Cabby: Wha? (Almost hits another car at a four-way-stop intersection.) Whoa. He blew that stop didn't he?
Me: No. (Consider getting out of cab for 27th time since I got in. Decide Cabby will follow me up the street and begin to pray.)
Cabby: So what do you do?
Me: I'm an editor.
Cabby: For what?
Me: A little magazine.
Cabby: What magazine?
Me: A little magazine for Web developers.
Cabby: How much does that pay?
Me: Uh...
Cabby: 'Cause my night vision is going, and I think editing would good for my eyes. That type of thing is good for your eyes.
Me: Actually, it's really bad for--
Cabby: I have a son, Mark and he's in school and I proofread his papers. I feel that's something I can offer him, you know, to take his papers from... you know, to the next level. Like by editing them.
Me: Yeah. I'm on the right.
Cabby: How much do you make?
Me: Uh, about (Can't believe I'm telling the cab driver my annual salary.)
Cabby: That's pretty good. How could I get into that, because I do a lot of editing around, you know?
Me: (Gets out of cab.)
Cabby: (Talks at gunfire pace for an eternal three minutes with no pauses for air.)
Me: (Closes door, walks to gate.)
Cabby: (Rolls down passenger window, continues briefing me on his editing skills).
Me: (Nods, closes front door. Locks front door in every manner available. Leans with back to door like character in horrible Julia Roberts flick about a single girl fighting her way through the urban jungle. Has some ice cream to cement the deal.)
4:39 p.m.

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When a cat misbehaves you squirt a light mist of water in his face so he learns not to do something again. A societal equivalent would be so satisfying. When the girl at the coffee shop orders "a caramel frappucino with semi-dry foam," you could just tap her on the nose with a rolled up magazine and say, "NO, Tiffany! Bad. NO."
3:20 p.m.

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Situation: After arguing with his father for a few minutes, a three-year-old boy is finally allowed to hold onto the pole instead of sitting down next to dad. Then Enthusiastic Drunken Bum takes an interest.

Enthusastic Drunken Bum: (Yells teasingly.) You'd better hold on!
Boy: (Glances in EDB's general direction, pretends not to hear.)
EDB: I say, you better hold on!
Boy: (Turns back to EDB.)
EDB: You better hold on, there!
Boy: (Ignores him.)
EDB: You better hold on!
11:13 a.m.

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Flipping through a book on slang, I came across this:
Shout at (one's) shoes—To vomit.
2:52 p.m.

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Remember my post about the guy who wants to be a tiger? Frank mentioned the guy who wants to be a lizard. I also looked up the woman who's had all kinds of freaked-out plastic surgery so she could look more like a cat. All I want is a tan.
2:47 p.m.

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Lady 1: I actually once wrestled in hot oil with another woman.
Lady 2: What? How did that come up?
Lady 1: It's not as bad as it sounds, it was for an art project.
Lady 2: Riight. "Art."
Lady 1: It was supposed to be kind of like a spoof of oil wrestling, but it was kind of weird because they asked us to fill in at the last minute so we didn't really know what the piece was about.
Lady 3: Were you naked?
Lady 1: No, no. They just told us to wear a bikini or underwear or whatever we were comfortable in. It was kind of scary just before we went on. I'm thinking, "I'm about to get up in front of all these people I know and hot oil wrestle with another woman."
Lady 2: No way. That makes you rad. That's when your stock totally shoots up.
Lady 4: That's when you go IPO.
10:41 a.m.

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A fire truck pulled up in front of the corner grocery store. No sirens, no lights, it looked like they just needed to pick something up. A few minutes later the firefighters emerged... with a bag of charcoal.
11:02 a.m.

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  • Colma, CA has more dead people than living.
  • Coma, CA has Serra Bowl!--twenty-four-hour bowling.
  • 3:59 p.m.

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    People magazine's Best and Worst Dressed issue has some fantastic stuff going on. First there's the tasteless headline accompanying the story on Anne Heche's wedding:
    in love
    Then People's West Coast Style Editor, Steven Cojocaru, gives us his insight on how Nicole Kidman is coping with the end of her marriage:
    "Her heart was broken on the inside, but she's healing through fashion."
    10:56 a.m.
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    Me: I still haven't gotten a ticket from that time I accidentally drove through the Fast Track toll lane in Indiana.
    Him: You will.
    Me: You think? It's been awhile.
    Him: Yep. They'll contact the rental car company to figure out it was you, and then send it to you.
    Me: That pisses me off, the signs weren't lit at all. I had no idea I was in the wrong lane until I was right up on it; it's not like I could turn around. Maybe I could write an "I'm from out of state" letter.
    Him: Right. "I'm from California and I was STOH-ONED. Maybe if you light the signs and make them flash, then maybe I'll notice them."
    Me: Shut up.

    Me: Whoa! Check that out.
    Him: Somebody needs to give that girl a sandwich.
    Me: What's up, Halter Top? She's definitely wearing last night's clothes. Walk of shame, baby.
    Him: That's a total walk of shame. She's even walking sore.
    Me: I think her clogs are bugging her.
    Him: Or she just stopped having sex twenty minutes ago. Now she has to go to work wearing that. She's looking for a company T-shirt anywhere she can find one.
    10:21 a.m.
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    I'd like to say something that would help, but this has left so many of us speechless. No one person is eloquent enough to wrap words around it, you only sense the enormity when you listen to everyone at once:

    September 11, 2001

    From CNet:

    "New York is crying," police Officer Tyrone Dux said, unable to contain his own tears after surveying the smoldering rubble that was once the World Trade Center.

    "I don't know what to do," a weeping Alan Rivera said as he stood behind barricades, hoping for word about his niece, who worked in the Trade Center. "I can't get through to her on the phone. ... No one can tell me anything."

    From CNN:

    "We want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain. We hope the courts find justice," ambassador Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef said in a statement in Pakistan after America was hit by a series of attacks that have been called the worst since Pearl Harbor.

    From bgirl:

    3:55 p.m. People were pinballing down the halls of my office. Who's here, who's missing? Gabe was there, his train came in there, but he called, he's okay. And then there were people screaming from the TV-equipped conference room that the first of the buildings had collapsed and everyone not already at the conference room end of the hall went running into the crowd of red eyes and loose jaws and then we all watched the second one just... go.

    I stopped in a Times Square store to pick up a few things and the checkout girl couldn't say anything as she rang me up -- opened her mouth a few times, but nothing came out. She put my change back down on the counter and left her hand lying there. I felt almost like I ought to squeeze it.

    From Uprush:

    4:37 p.m. one of my coworker's husband was at the base of the WTC when the first blast happened. he said there were burning bodies flying out of the sky.

    10:46 p.m. my friends and i were eating pasta glued to the t.v. set at their apartment in times square, one of whom was my friend cherie who was in the WTC at the time of the blasts. she still had concrete bits in her hair, which she was picking out one by one.

    From Allen Plummer:

    James McGowan, who recently started his job at the NYSE, was outside getting coffee when the second plane it. "When the first one hit," he said, "we all thought, 'Oh so the building'll be on fire.' It was sad, but you know what they say about New Yorkers working through anything. When the second one hit, I thought, 'Shit, this is serious.' I realized I had some paperwork in my hand, so I went back to the office and thought, 'I'm putting this down and getting the hell out of here.' I left the building, not paying attention to what any of my co-workers were doing, and started walking. A few minutes later, I heard something (the first building collapsing). I turned around, and 3 blocks back was a tidal wave of smoke coming right at me. Everyone on the street started running. I saw women fall down, screaming, and people were going around them. People running beside me had their faces cut to ribbons. It was like a fucking movie."

    From Andy's Chest:

    10:48 a.m. I walked all the way back from downtown. I don't know how I can type this. it was absolutely indescribable. I was watching, we were watching the first WTC building, watching the people fall and the flames burn when I saw a plane, a passenger size plane, come out of the sky, arc around and crash DIRECTLY into the other tower!! It left a huge hole and smoke and flames. People in the office were shouting and crying. Someone yelled GET OUT and we all walked the stairs down to the ground. The streets were crazy. People wandering around, dazed, crying, freaked out.
    We gathered on Park Row on the East side of City Hall to watch the towers. People were in shock. After a while of speculating and staring, we saw one of the towers collapse heard the boom and a HUGE HUGE HUGE ball of smoke billowed out. People started running away. People were almost trampled as the police tried to wrangle people out of the area. I walked and walked and everybody just kept walking. the streets are filled with dazed people. It's insane. Horrible. Unthinkable. Then as I was walking, finally I stopped and turned around on Mercer near the Angelika and we saw the other Tower go. I don't know what to say. I really don't. this is beyond description. beyond words.

    3:42 p.m. So, its later this afternoon. We've been watching the coverage all morning and afternoon. Phone calling friends. Touching base. Trying to make sure everyone's okay, letting everyone know that I'm okay. Its been an exhausting, emotional day. I think I'm still in shock. I can't get the pictures out of my mind: watching people leap to their deaths, choosing between being immolated alive or crushed by falling. I saw one woman, and I know it's impossible, but I could have sworn I heard her scream. Its something you can't imagine. I never thought I could imagine. Everytime I see that footage of that plane hitting the second tower, I twitch. The thing is that as we looked out the windows of the office, trying to comprehend how a plane could possibly run into the World Trade Center, we just thought it was a horrible, horrible accident. But watching that other plane come in defied belief. And then it just crashed right in.

    From UltraSparky:

    9:48 a.m. I heard some guy on the street telling a cop that he just saw a plane hit the World Trade Center. He didn't look like a crank, but the cops seemed as dumbfounded as I was confused about why they were listening to him. Until I looked up and saw the cloud of smoke in the sky. I went up to my office on the 20th floor of a midtown office building, where I could see the smoking top of the WTC through the window, while a TV showed a replay of the second plane colliding with one of the towers. They've shut down all the airport, bridges, tunnels, and downtown subways while they wait to see if the damage is done for now, or if the city is actually under attack by terrorists.
    But I'm OK, in case you're worrying, Mom.

    11:40 a.m. Pearl Harbor, Kennedy's assassination, the Challenger explosion, and now this. Another generation is going to have their first memory of exactly where they were and what they were doing when the shit hit the fan.

    3:15 p.m. The site of the Towers from the street and from work was fiction, surrealism, completely impossible to really accept. If you've ever been to New York, you know that you can see the Towers from all over the place. They're like a pair of compass needles for the whole city. My whole trip back to Brooklyn was punctuated by hundreds of views of the smoke rising from the rubble where I'd otherwise be seeing the Towers themselves.
    Midtown was completely insane. From the office, I could see people swarming all over the streets, and people standing on the roofs of every building around, staring fixedly at the plume. Down on the street, it was mayhem. People were rushing everywhere, generally north. Tempers were flaring in the panic — especially in the fights over cabs. Paranoia was out of control. I passed an SUV on 3rd Avenue whose engine caught fire, and people were just flipping out when they saw the smoke. Every time an F16 flew overhead, every head around looked up — everyone is afraid of planes today. I joined a throng of people heading to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel after seeing cardboard signs go up saying the tunnel was open and every car around was taking people out of Manhattan. It really was an effective evacuation of the area. I caught a cab with a few other people, then walked home from Long Island City — a long, hot, weird journey filled with other refugees from a day that started out like any other.
    I can't turn away from the news. The jingoism is driving me crazy. This is an attack against US, for God's sake, not democracy itself. Can the rhetoric, because no one's good enough to get it right. I actually prefer watching Adolph Guiliani and Governor Pataki talk about it, because they're shying away from the "threat to American ideals" bit (for the most part) and concentrating on the massive, massive rescue effort that is underway to control the chaos and the disaster in lower Manhattan.
    When the dust settles (literally), I just know that Shrub is gonna do something stupid. Yes, we're going to have to do something, but he's not the person I want to call the shots right now. Even worse, he might come out of this as some kind of hero, just because he's in office right now. Whatever peope are able to do to handle the situation, he'll be able to claim credit for his leadership. Man, I bet they couldn't get Colin Powell on the phone fast enough this morning.

    Associated Press:

    Clemant Lewin, a banker who works across street from the World Trade Center towers, said that after the initial explosion, he looked out the window and saw people jumping from the building from as high as the 80th floor, including a man and a woman holding hands as they fell.

    Robert James, 43, manager of a Modell's sports store near the Trade Center, was in the basement when he heard the explosion, then emerged to see at least five bodies fall from the skyscraper. He was nearby for the 1993 Trade Center bombing, James said, adding, "I don't think I'll work down here anymore."

    From Blogstalker:

    12:01 p.m. I just went out to vote. Today is the mayoral primary in New York City and, despite all that's happened this morning -- maybe even because of all that's happened -- I wanted to try and vote.

    From Toothpick Girl:

    9:39 a.m. Oh this is awful. The air smells like burnt flesh. There is shit flying and a layer of debris on the ground. You can hear the jets flying over the city. Just incredible.
    App one of the towers collapsed, there is so much smoke and debris is falling like snow. There are papers on the roof. Pages from a Japanese book of some sort. Only one television station is coming in at all. It's insane.

    From Broadway Stars:

    Last night, I spoke to a friend who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She noted how when she looks around her neighborhood, there were so many apartments with no lights on. She wondered if the people who lived there would ever come home.

    From Jerry Pournelle:

    Lynn and my Niece Liz's husband, Jeremy Glick was on United flight 93 this morning. When the Hijackers took control of flight 93. Jeremy called my niece who in-turn conferenced him to 911. Jeremy relayed to the police what was happening as the hijacking unfolded. As our niece Liz listened, Jeremy told the police there were three Arab terrorists with knives and a large red box that they claimed contained a bomb. Jeremy tracked the second by second details and relayed them to the police by phone. After several minutes of describing the scene, Jeremy and several other passengers decided there was nothing to lose by rushing the hijackers. Although United Flight 93 crashed outside of Pittsburgh, with the loss of all souls. Jeremy and the other patriotic heroes saved the lives of many people on the ground that would have died if the Arab terrorists had been able to complete their heinous mission.

    From Saran Warp:

    after the second plane ran into the building (excuse me, could someone rewind that?) and the building burned for a while, i went back downstairs for a cup of coffee. people were loudly sobbing on my roof. everyone screamed when it happened. you could hear 11 stories of screams and OH MY GODS from the roof and the stairwells...
    i feel nothing, except fear and gratitude that none of my family live here. i am sort of numb to the rest of it, isolated in brooklyn, and trained by american action films to take things like planes flying into buildings, mass explosions, and the destruction of major buildings for granted.

    From Mookie (mirror) and regular URL

    11:31 p.m. Reports are coming in that survivors trapped in the rubble are using their cell phones to call for help... How anyone could have survived that is beyond me. Are New Yorkers tough or what?

    September 12, 2001

    From Jish:

    I was doing better today, until a short while ago when I was at a cafe for breakfast. As I stood in line, someone (very loudly and in a very accusing tone) asked: "Are you from Afghanistan??" All eyes turned upon me, burning, each one accompanied with accusatory frowns. Needless to say, I very sheepishly said: "I am not from Afghanistan.", then I quietly left ... with an empty stomach and almost crying.
    I felt so small and I now feel so unsafe and uncomfortable.

    From UltraSparky:

    11:13 a.m. It's fascinating to get first-hand accounts of how people abroad are reacting. Mark has been either shell shocked or weepy over in Italy, and people there have been coming up and just giving him hugs when they realize he's American.

    From Blogstalker:

    This is a city where people generally go out of their way to avoid contact with other people. Not today. People in the elevator asked if all of my friends had been accounted for, told me their friends' narrow escapes. Walking Dex this morning, I passed people I pass almost every morning, plus a few strangers. We met each other's eyes as we passed and exchanged a terse, but kind, smile. Those of us that knew each other on sight but had maybe never spoken much or at all asked how the other was doing. "Do you need anything?" I thought I'd stop crying today, but I haven't.

    11:47 a.m. ...Some restaurants are open, some are closed with hastily made signs. One that I passed said "Eatery is closed today. God Bless America."...
    5:59 p.m.
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    A few nights ago, I got a little misty when a cab driver waited for me to get inside safely before driving away. This morning, I felt an inexplicable sense of relief at having an elevator entirely to myself. I think it's time to spend a weekend somewhere that has trees.
    11:27 a.m.
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    'NSync bedding, the shortest distance between you and a nightmare.

    Also, I'll be at the Web 2001 show all week. That's me to your right. Come say hi.

    11:43 a.m.
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