I didn't sleep last night. I tossed and turned, woke up over and over again, not even feeling like I'd napped.

Finally it was time to get up, and I got on chat and saw someone mention Manhattan being evacuated...a quick look at CNN woke me up in a hurry, with a sinking feeling in my stomach that I pretty much never get.

I'm finding I'm having a hard time really grasping the sheer size of this. I never actually visited the World Trade Center, but I always knew it was there. Now it's just completely gone. And a whole side of the Pentagon is trashed (and it is a large, large building).

If nothing else, I'm trying to understand the scale of flying large airplanes into giant skyscrapers. As one friend said, "if this were in a movie, I'd call it overblown".

I'm impressed with America, and how we handle things. We're good at disasters and other sorts of chaos--the stability of the nation as an entity never comes into question. There's no behavior that might require martial law; there's no danger of civil war. Rather than getting scared, we're pissed. And that stability was there during the Rodney King riots, and during the recent presidential "election".

I boggle at the amount of history we've witnessed in the past few years. There was the politically-motivated impeachment of a fairly amoral president--the Andrew Johnson memorial/museum in his hometown had to change all the sentences calling him "the only President ever impeached". We had a presidential election decided by Supreme Court fiat (they could have counted the votes, but hey, why bother?) after a harrowing sequence of legal maneuvering: something which strained our legal system perhaps a little bit past its limit. And now we have the most number of people dying on U.S. soil in one day since the Civil War, the result of terrorism on a massive scale.

And through it all, life goes on...I go to the grocery store, I get coffee, I pack for my trip. It's all so distant sometimes...

Last modified: Mon Aug 13 00:58:21 PDT 2001