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Sunday January 20, 2002, 06:38

Dim the light on the laptop, it being too bright to be sitting here in pre-dawn horizon glow out the windows of my apartment. The other lights here (and I say other as if there were any on, which there are not)? Off. It is dark and I position myself to be staring out my window directly, watching the sunrise, the assumption being that watching this will move me from a state of utter exhausting to one of at least moderate bliss.

Those attempts proved futile as, hours later, I found myself wrapped in a blanket, still clothed, laptop long since abandoned in favor of sleep. My phone was ringing and the last thing I could remember from the night before was walking up my favorite street in the city, the one that I had walked up that night I met a girl at a show, that night where we had walked out of the theatre and I, attempting wildly to walk her home for the evening, walked out to the corner to waste some time while she waiting to talk to her friends and saw the World Trade Center towering over me. It had made such an impression that I had ambled back to her (all the while my heart pounding) and, finding her finished with her conversation beckoned for her to follow. I brought her to the corner and told her to turn to her left.

"Isn't that amazing?!" I implored, and she just looked at me.

I did end up walking her home that night, up that street, the street with the old buildings with the large iron columns and the cobblestones, out of place, perhaps in this city but at the same time exactly what one might expect to find when one turned the corner, a little bit of magic in an otherwise asphalt and steel town.

Last night I walked up this street, actually walking in the street for much of it, the still un-shoveled sidewalks a bit much for my sneaker-clad shoes. It was loud. Louder than it should have been at six in the morning with the air cold and brisk like it hasn't been all year. Car approaching, I hopped onto the sidewalk and heard the crunch of packed snow/ice under my feet, echoing up the chasm of buildings. Wheels whirred by, kicking up salt and ice and water and I'd forgotten just how noisy the hours post-snowfall can be. Growing up, I'd only had experience with snow storms that stuck inches upon inches onto the ground, where people had the sense to stay inside and drink hot chocolate and watch television. In the days before common use of the Internet, whatever time that might be (and, I might add, an unfortunate digression that just slipped from my mind while writing this). Regardless, the snow would fall, the snow plows would pass, a wave of snow and dirt kicking up over the guard-rail beside my house, cascading down a hill leaving brown trails in the white snow. And that would be it. Loud for a moment, then a muffled, frozen silence.

Here, silence is shunned. At the party last night, the party that I left and the party from which I was returning at six in the morning, I was struck by the man shouting over the music to a level that I could actually hear him, half a room away. The music was loud enough to shake the walls and even now, after a night of sleep and a brisk walk home (in reverse chronological order), dull my hearing, and yet I could still hear him.

And likewise were the streets abuzz. Cars tore by, wheels splashing through puddles of melting snow; accumulation remains for a day or less in these parts. The walk home was nice, the party still lingering in my head. I fell asleep several times there, slumped against a wall or leaning against a speaker. I was later told that it was "impressive" that I could sleep in such an environment. Really, I was just quite tired, and people can sleep almost anywhere when they need to.

[...]

The streets are wet and the air is cold. I was out and didn't need to button my coat. My ears are mostly cleared up from last night and I spend the rest of my day alone, in silence.

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