Thursday, September 11, 2008

First Assignment


Seven years since the towers came down. A cruel shudder reminding Americans that there is a whole world out there. Terrorists crumbled the trade center towers, monuments to the free world. I thought people would be humbled by the experience and in turn become more in tune with the rest of world. Unfortunately, this seems not the case. 

Today, I sat by the large whole that seven years later still lies gaping like an open mouth screaming its message to the city and no one seems to hear. 

Seven years later and still no monument. The roads closed to traffic allowed mourners to wander with flowers and remember. I thought the quieted atmosphere would provide a decent scene-scape for our first assignment and this is what I heard. 

Footsteps on concrete melding rhythms of pitter-patter, flip flop, clunk and swish with the ambient sounds of baby carriage wheels turning over the ground. From underground the A or C train comes to a screeching halt, as iron on iron grind on top of each other and neither give. Emergency vehicles sound both near and far. Air conditioning units put out a low hum from one of the large buildings. 

The less noticeable sounds seemed to melt together creating a back-drop of noise. These noise included the hum of truck engines idling and in motion, as well as the beep beep of the back-up signal. Keys in pockets or handbags jingles sometimes slightly. Something produced a hissing noise, perhaps a gas or water line. A janitor's broom and dust pan swept and clunked along. An airplane thundered quietly, distantly. And someone beat a slow warrior like beat somewhere very far away on a hand drum.

These noises together either created the metallic repetitions mimicking the ostinato of machinery or else somewhere down in the pit rhythmic pulsations were being produced by some kind of construction. It seemed odd that workers would work at the 9/11 site on its memorial day though. 

The machine-like repetition of construction or whether it was the cumulation of all the other noise components produced an eerie effect that is hard to describe. It was different and unexpected from the other sounds I heard, because it seemed to dramatically contrast with the mood of the day. Like people chose to ignore the fact that construction was going on or it was the groan of our industrial society. Either way, I felt that this sound represented all those reasons our towers came down in the first place and people just don't want to hear it let alone change.

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