The library is the same today as it's always been...books are being checked in and out, children are running through the stacks, the toilet in the men's room is overflowing, the mouse for computer #2 has stopped working, and people are laughing - even on a day so heavy with emotion.
Business as usual can be a comfort but I had to go into the library director's office this morning and remind her to ask the janitor to lower the flag to half staff. She seemed surprised in an "Oh! is that today?" sort of way, as blasé about it as if she had forgotten to pick up her drycleaning. So much for a sunrise-to-sunset remembrance...it was late morning before anyone got around to it.
People shuffled past my desk as they always do, sometimes stopping to ask for help or just to sign in for a computer. A woman spent three hours putting together an online jigsaw puzzle, I went to the basement to get movies out of storage, people asked for today's newspaper, and it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon before anyone even mentioned what happened on this date. Jimmy B. came in, more solemn than usual. He stood on a rooftop in New York City 7 years ago today and took pictures of the towers crumbling down. He packed up his life and moved back to Ohio not long after. Each September, he totes around a little black photo album filled with images of unspeakable horror, of the moment the world changed forever, of the day that reminded us all that we should love and live like there is no tomorrow.
The kids came in after school at 3 and I wondered if their teachers mentioned 9/11 at all, seeing how history classes have become a minefield of political correctness and guilt. News moves so fast, facts get distorted and suddenly no one knows the truth anymore, so what's the point? Teenagers check their Myspace pages and move through a world with no sharp edges - they're too young to know life as it was before thousands of innocents were murdered on American soil.
The great forgetting has begun, and although I suppose I should be reassured with such glaring evidence that life does indeed go on, I've felt very alone all day in my remembering.