Saturday, April 4th, 2020

I spent some of today on another sojurn out into what passes for the real world these days. This time, when going into Target and Whole Foods I wore a mask that was a souvenir from the last national tragedy, and therefore probably no longer up to medical specs, but it it did cover my face and made me look absurd as I checked out organic broccoli. Also, by the way, it interferes with Face ID, so my fancy new iPhone considered me a stranger and wanted my passcode again and again.

I was working on a project for Time Warner just before—and after—September 11, 2001, in office space in the then just-renovated Chelsea Market in Lower Manhattan. I flew up there a couple of days each week to work on a state-of-the-art automation system that I’m sure is ancient history now.

After the towers fell, and before flights had been fully reestablished into and out of New York, I rented a car and drove back up from Atlanta two or three days after the attacks, checked into a hotel in New Jersey just across the Hudson, jumped on a NY Waterways ferry and, well, went back to work. The ruins were still smoldering. Some of my fellow hotel guests were firemen/EMS people from other cities who came east to help. The air in Lower Manhattan had an overlay of concrete dust and other toxics. So the Time Warner Engineering Project Manager handed out 3M N95 masks to all hands. I jammed mine in my denim jacket and concentrated on coding.

Nineteen years later, I found mine in a drawer. Hadn’t worn it before today.