I didn’t really want to think about it, and tried not to watch the plenthora of memorial media. It’s just too painful and sad and messy for humanity, the event itself and moreover the aftermath.

What made me want to write is an excellent essay “Thoughts on the Effects of September 11th” by my immigration lawyer. His point that immigration and democracy with rule of law are the foundation of America is common sense, but it’s a lot more resounding from his profession. It’s no coincidence that 35 out of 55 delegates to the US constitution convention were lawyers or had legal training.

It’s the first 9/11 anniversary since I started to work in downtown. One of the things that I wanted to write about in a yet-to-be-written installment of my “Commuter’s Tale” is the way that a PATH train parades around Ground Zero before entering the WTC station. It’s a very stirring experience the first time around, but of course it became everyday chore very quickly, plus I’m always asleep or trying to nap on the train, to the point where I would deliberately miss a crowded train to get a seat on the next one.

For the few times that I was awake, I did look into the huge hole in the ground to see progress, of which I’ve noticed little during the last 10 months. According to the rebuilding timeline, the major projects (memorial, Freedom Tower, new PATH station) is scheduled for 2009, so that gives me a good reason to stick around at my current job for a few more years. It’s a big pity, though, that a newly constructed condo completely blocked the view of the WTC site from where I sit. So I’ll need to be more awake on PATH to witness the transformation.

Being awake is sometimes not easy, literally and figuratively. I could claim that I close my eyes to shun the perplexing and profusing changes at the WTC site and the world beyond, but now you know that’s just a lie to cover up the lethargy of my life. Nevertheless, I dare say that most people who perished with the Twin Towers would rather take a nap than keeping eyes wide open to the same old commute. They were common people trying to carry on with their lives, just the same as those London folks taking the subway, or Iraqi people surviving wars and genocide, or Israelis ducking suicide bombs and Hazbollah rockets, or Lebanonese ducking Israel missiles. How hard is it, really, for human to be tolerant for others and resort to reason, as America might have been at some point in its short history, or at least as its Founding Fathers believed or claimed to be?


UPDATE 9/29: I promise this has something to do with the topic, so please bear with me…

My Chinese colleagues and I used to go to a Chinese lunch place at Dey x Broadway all the time, because the only senior employee among us (Jason) had been going there for several years. It’s one floor below ground, above a subway station, and it’s dark and filthy and cramped and noisy, but it has the only remotely decent Chinese food closeby.

One day we walked there and found the door locked with a note saying “MTA terminated the lease”. Jason was utterly shocked and lost, muttering “what am I supposed to do now”. We ended up going to Chinatown everyday instead, which is a healthy walk of just 15 minutes. And one day at a Chinatown crossroad Jason recognized a guy used to work in that underground restaurant, and he said it may reopen some time but we didn’t ask him where.

A while ago I went to Battery Park City for a lunch date and noticed a new restaurant at Liberty x Church with the same name to be opened a few days later. I checked it out this week and it’s indeed the same place, much brighter and cleaner. I told Jason about it and he’s happy as a child.

Well how is it related to the topic? I just realize that the old underground restaurant was closed, along with the whole block, to make room for the new Fulton Street Transit Center. So we got a better lunch place (though a bit farther) and will get a better transit hub–a better life, isn’t it? There is hope in the world, after all.

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