I dream a lot of bad dreams. I think it’s because I drink so much Diet Coke. It’s not enough that the aspartame is giving me rat cancer; the caffeine is now attacking my subconscious.
I had a real doozie last night, a nightmare that was intensely weird and repetitive. Have you ever had one like that? I think most dreams have a real narrative, like a movie, but sometimes mine are like pressing rewind and watching the same scene over and over. Like someone’s showing me something.
This one was in two parts. Part one: I’m in a rapidly descending plane. It’s clear we’re about to crash. Then, just as the plane hit the ground, but before you could actually feel the impact, I was back in the air. Falling fast. Again. Again.
Part two: I’m running through a huge grassy field with a few other people. Planes are crashing around us. There are many different kinds—old-fashioned ones with propellers, huge passenger planes, and futuristic fighter jets. They arched up in the air before nose-diving to the ground, like someone had catapulted them over an invisible wall. I remember thinking, they’re using these planes like bombs.
Then I woke up, gave myself a little Keanu Reeves-style whoa, cracked a Diet Coke, and got on with my day.
It was only later, when I logged onto Facebook and saw all the 9.11-related status updates, that I realized today is September 11. Which, first of all, I freely acknowledge reflects poorly on me, because (a) yeah, I read Facebook before I read the news and (b) I’m a little out of touch with the whole space-time continuum. What can I tell you? My phone beeps at me whenever I’m supposed to do something.
But anyway, the gravitas of all the NEVER FORGET statements was somewhat undermined by their positions between, like, updates on Katie’s garage sale and what Amanda had for breakfast. Like, I’m sure the ghosts of the World Trade Center appreciate these heartfelt, if occasionally misspelled, status update memorials. No doubt people are sacrificing the animals of Farmville in tribute to the their memories. Above all, I’m sure they appreciate the strange icons people post, such as this dramatic popsicle-stick sculpture depicting that terrible day when the three(?!) towers fell:
So I just want to say: Relax, Facebook. I can assure you that no one who lived through that day is going to forget 9.11. It’s a muscle memory akin to a kick in the stomach. I think about 9.11 every time I’m in downtown Chicago, when I look up at the sky and worry that a plane is flying too low. I think about 9.11 every time I read about the misguided hatred of Muslims that is eating through our country like some sort of retarded cancer. Sometimes I think about it when I’m eating grilled cheese or doing laundry or digging through my bag for keys, because it’s just memorable like that.
It’s the kind of thing that haunts the dreams of someone as apathetic and snarky as me.
So maybe instead of trying so hard to remember, we should reflect. Reflect on the crimes that have been perpetuated in the names of the people who died that day. Reflect on what we can do to promote peace going forward. And, above all, reflect on the relationship between loving your country and loving the rest of this wide world.