Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yesternight It Happened

Yesterday I'd been waiting for some confluence; yesternight it happened. Exiting the train I saw a fella flipping shut Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, my favorite book.

I tapped him on the shoulder. "Are you liking it?" I asked.

He was. He said a friend and he had decided to read it together. He said it was hard to get into, but once you did you couldn't put it down. I'd done the former many times before, and agreed with the latter.

We talked, walking down the platform. "It's funny," he said, "just today I was listening to David Foster Wallace read a story he wrote about 9/11 ...."

I cut him off: "'The View from Mrs. Thompson's,' yes? That's so crazy: I was just this morning telling my friend at work about that story."

"That's right!" he said, amazed I'd known the exact thing about which he was talking.

"You know," I said, "that was originally published in Rolling Stone the week after 9/11. He was the only one that really got it right, because basically he just wrapped it up by throwing up his hands and saying, 'I don't fucking know why this had to happen or what this means either.' And if the smartest guy I've ever read feels helpless and baffled in the face of 9/11, well, it makes me feel like it's okay for me to feel that way as well."

"Exactly," my companion said. "The part I liked best was when he was frantically running around trying to find an American flag, and then someone gave him one and he just broke down and became really emotional."

We had been stumping up the steps to the street, Metropolitan Avenue, while the previous conversation occurred. When we got topwise we saw the Towers of Light west down Metro, framed by the buildings.

"I hear you used to be able to see the Towers right there," I said, "framed right in between like the Towers of Light are now."

"Really?" he said. We both stood and stared. The Towers of Light reached high, straight, and blue, occasionally brightly lighting up a low cloud.

"Well, take care, buddy," I said, as I moved to part ways.

"You too," he said. "Farewell."

I walked home and the hair on my arms stood on end; the Towers of Light flanked me to the west all the way home. I felt good.


Anonymous said...


Not a very well written article, buddy, but your favorite research sleuth found it. Thought you might find it interesting given the 5 year retrospective.

Hunter Slaton said...

Wow, crazy -- I think I might have known she was around there then, but not to that extent, or what happened.

I still don't think Delaware exists.