Monday, September 5, 2011
get up, radio on, start coffee
start shower, pee, bathe, the sound of voices on the radio
towel off, put on yesterday’s pants, pour coffee, add half and half
Put on a shirt. Find something quick to eat.
I start to follow the talk on the radio as caffeine and leftovers start to bring me out of my sleep.
After a couple more minutes I'm paying attention to the radio, listening to NPR. Although I haven't been doing this very long, it has become part of my morning routine. Most if the content is pretty boring. A lot of it seems important but it's hard to tell what's going to matter in a few days or weeks. I listen for things I’ve heard before. I wonder how these people can keep talking about some of this stuff day after day. But I suffer through it. This is the kind of thing I should start doing, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, learning about the issues. I'm going to graduate soon. I'm going to be twenty-three soon. Eric just turned twenty-three and Mrs. Freeman made sure he knew he wasn't a kid any more. "You're grown now. Mmmhhm, you ain't a baby no more." I need to start keeping up with what's going on in the world.
Eric was in the Navy or something. He's going to school on the G.I. Bill anyway. He'd been stationed in Haiti and he talks about it every day. He told me about heat and the stench of rotting garbage and people so poor they didn't have front doors on their houses and people so rich they could pay people to do absolutely everything for them and never left the house except when they left the country to go shopping in America. He said that most of the rich people hardly spend any time in Haiti at all and that the rich people pretty much use the poor people as slaves. He told me that there were frequent gunfights between the different gangs and that at night you could see tracer bullets flying from one slum to another like lasers in Star Wars. He told me that in the mornings there would be dead bodies on the roadsides. Eric should have been grown, having seen things like that. And wasn't that what they did in boot camp, make a man out of you? And now he has two jobs. One at a car rental place and the other one working with me at the library, and he was going to college too. I don't see what twenty-three has to do with it.
Time to go to work. Pour out the coffee, put on my shoes. Pull out my new Specialized Hardrock mountain bike. I wonder if there's still enough air in the tires. I took it off some really good jumps yesterday. Better make sure. I'm still listening to the talk on the radio as I take the tire pump off the bracket that holds it to my bike's frame and attach it to the little nozzle on the tire. A reporter breaks in with a special announcement. I hate it when this happens. It always sounds like some local intern who's not prepared and doesn't really understand the implications of the information they're reporting. I was listening to the news.
In his wimpy voice the intern reporter tells us that a plane has flown into the World Trade Center. Ok, that doesn't happen every day. So, I listen while I put on my backpack. The reporter isn't sure of much. Really just that the plane has hit the building. There are no parts of the plane visibly sticking out of the building but it seems to have been a large plane. Maybe a jet. He speculates a little about how a pilot could have lost his way and wandered into the building. The reporter is probably pretty sure that first responders might be converging on the building. Why do they have to turn everything into a speculative cliff hanger? Is there really anyone who wonders whether the fire department is on the way when these things happen? Why is it such a big deal when they get there? We knew they were coming. I know reporters just need something to talk about but, why interrupt the news to speculate about things we can safely assume are happening?
Listening to the special announcement has made me late for work. I carefully replace my tire pump in the bracket so that it won't interfere with my feet or get its new surface marred by the chain and strap it down. I'm going to go the long way anyway. There are more good curbs to jump.
I get to the bike rack at the minute I’m supposed to clock in. Mr. Fogt is going to be mad. He kept harping on timeliness in the interview. My dad liked to say if you’re not early, you’re late. So, I said that to Mr. Fogt and he finally seemed satisfied. I’ve only almost been late a couple times but, I can tell he’s not happy about it. There's another guy locking up his bike on the other side of the rack. His is older than mine and kinda beat up. We say "Hi" and he checks out my bike's new silver frame. He's got a look on his face like he's got something on his mind but different. I quickly snap on my lock and run inside. Mrs. Freeman isn’t at her desk. I sit down at the computer and try to act like I’ve been here for a few minutes as I clock in. Where’d that guy go, I wonder. I didn’t see him come in.
Mrs. Freeman comes up from the offices and doesn’t say hello before she tells me we’re still going to open the library today and just to get ready like normal. She tells me we’re going to have a radio in the front to listen to quietly and goes to the back again. She hasn’t noticed me slipping in. Why wouldn’t we open today? What’s going on?
I start taking the books out of the book return. Eric comes up from the back with a small radio. I hadn’t seen him come in either. He’s been in Mr. Fogt’s office watching the news. I ask him what’s going on and why Mrs. Freeman’s acting like we might close. “Because of the plane crash in New York” he tells me. It was a big airline plane but, on the news they think it looked like it was on purpose. They don’t know if it’s an accident so that’s why we’re listening to radio.
I cart the books over to the computer and start checking them in. The reporters are speculating about all sorts of scenarios and telling us what they don’t know yet. I’m checking in the books and thinking about what they’re saying. It sounds unlikely to me that the pilots would have let someone force them to fly into a building. Eric and I talk about it. He tells me that most pilots are ex-military. Navy pilots are the best, he says, and they wouldn’t have hit a building on accident. He tells me Navy pilots can land anything on anything. They wouldn’t let someone tell them to fly into a building either.