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September 09, 2010

Big fire in my neighborhood. Heard about it while exchanging text messages with my new best friend on the way home. Felt bummed, sad. Small enough to comprehend, close enough to home.

Couldn't reach mom on phone, couldn't reach annoying friend on phone. Landline at home was dead. Eventually reached both. Unsure whether to drive home or not, ended up at school again. Was going to practice piano, but instead watched live footage of the neighborhood burning. Oriignally felt scared, then sad for the gas station attendant who inevitably died, then unsure of what to feel sad for because I wasn't quite so sure it began at a gas station. Then just sad. Made jokes about it since I'm a nerd, but don't really find it funny. Ran into Christian friend when I was getting up to pack computer up, met her Christian group. Felt some energy between me and another member who was very outgoing, that might have been Christ love. We went to El Farolito in the Mission. Friend who usually seems emotionless called to check up on me. Felt touched. Christian friend made a lot of jokes in the car regarding the explosion. I wasn't bothered, thought I wasn't that sad anymore, but once she was out of my car, I felt the weight of it again. Headed back to town. Felt the feeling that may have been the reason why I stayed at school. A feeling of dread, of unfamiliarity. I knew in theory that the town would cease to be the town it was. But then it was hitting me in the face. Drove to fill my car at the station, helicopters overhead, firetrucks passing by. Decided to try to check it out. Streets blocked by fire trucks, news trucks, then it stopped being so tragic and instead was a thrill. To drive through the blackened neighborhoods (by their electricity being out, not the charred remains), to try to find the best way to see things. The sidewalks were electric with human forms, fire fighters walking around, people wandering, cars flashing their hazards on the sides of the roads, families packing up to go I don't know where, maybe indoors. I drove to the shopping center which acted as a hub. But it was so full, I didn't want to be a bother. If I took even one parking space, it could be problematic. And the strong chemical smell was overpowering there. Saw people who looked distraught, confused why, because for some reason I don't understand context a lot of the time. The parts just don't connect. So I was reminded that they were wandering a shopping center at 11pm for a reason. I had to respect that even though I was largely just fascinated in that moment.

On the way back, to snake my way through the messy neighborhood, I saw large smoke cloud, I saw the fire lighting up the cloud, and it excited me. This excitement was alongside my sorrow, but only one can really rule my mind at a time.
I felt satisfied to see it. I still feel sad for the people, but now that I'm home in my underwear, I'm more disconnected than before. I think it is also the clarity of the situation now. News broadcasts tend to fill us with fear upon first hearing them, and then over time, the news becomes compartmentalized. 9/11 was terror, and then it was 9/11. When it was 9/11, it was a way for people to make points. It was not emotional anymore, and when it was emotional, it was being used as a weapon for hatred or control. I am glad to have felt the sorrow and fear I felt when I first heard about it. I am glad that the people I know appear to be safe. I know there have been 53 structures destroyed and others damaged. There has been one fatality. Hopefully an asshole. You can't really hope for anything else when you hear about a death. There's no way around it. I hope everyone affected today will find the path that enables them to move on, and hopefully without too much pain.