I saw the same scene at Union Square that Jeffrey did. I was there to meet a friend for dinner last night. I went early, to see what was happening there. There was scattered beauty, with more candles than I can ever recall having seen. And a circle of Buddhist monks (not the NYU-student Buddhist Until Graduation types) was sitting, silent, in one of the most moving tributes I’ve seen.
But the south end of the Square, that’s where the madness was. People bickering, shouting, all of them wrong. Some wrong to the right, some wrong to the left, but none of them realizing that they just needed to shut up. A group of Scientologists in yellow shirts, labeled with the words “Volunteer Minister” as part of their efforts right now to capitalize on people’s grief for recruiting new members. Fox News had trucks there, manufacturing framing shots of grief for their broadcasts.
It was all wrong. They were wrong in a million different ways, but they were all wrong. So I went to the north end of the Square, where they have a little farmer’s market. They had a vendor selling what appeared to be very fresh cherry tomatoes. She held out a little green plastic basket of them and asked if I wanted to try one. And I did.
It was tart, and sweet, and perfectly ripe. And that was the one thing in that square that made perfect sense to me.
We went to dinner, which was not great but sufficient. Then, as we wandered around the Village, I ran into another friend I hadn’t seen since the attacks. My compulsion, as I shook his hand, was the same as it has been for each friend when I see them… if I haven’t seem them since the attacks, I want to grab them and hug them. But, so far, I haven’t.
After wandering about the city for a while, we drifted southward and ended at the WTC site. Or as close as civilians are allowed to go. I am not going to write about that, at least for now.