Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Draft


People who never saw the Towers love them. Two striped oblong boxes at the end of Manhattan. Two majestic pillars lifting the city skyline.

Thing is, though, those two buildings were ugly.

It's true!

They were Manhattan's underbite. Aside from their height, nothing about the Towers was notable. "It would have been terrible if those Al-Qaeda guys had knocked down either the Chrysler Building or the Rockefeller Center," Robert Hughes said in 2006. The WTC, he added, "only became iconic when it was knocked over by a bunch of Arabs."

To be fair, the WTC would have become iconic if Swedes had knocked it over.

If Pygmies on stilts had knocked the WTC over, the ugly Towers would be iconic.

You know what also would be iconic, no matter what?



I'd seen those damned towers several times, without actually seeing them. They'd been in movies, on television, in photographs. I never liked them. Recognized them, certainly. Appreciated them, of course.

They were tall. That's about it.

Four days before they fell, before they stopped being tall and started being a hole in the ground, I visited those two towers.

I'd like to say this: The air was still. The sun was bright, and it hit the side of one tower, bounced off the other, and the two towers played ping-pong with the sun as it zig-zagged between them then smashed into the plaza where I stood.

I'd like to say I looked up.

What I will say is this: I barely looked up. The best look I got of the WTC was a few days later, back at home in Alabama.

"I was there four days ago," I told Greg.

"I know."

"There are people there today."

"I know."

To this day, I wonder which direction those people looked: up to the majesty or down to the plaza.

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