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A Chance to Really Start Over,

Jon Carroll,
San Francisco Chronicle (9-18-2001)
Berkeley Solano Stroll

September 17th, 2001

Loves So Little
I believe it was James Fallows, writing in one of his books, who said a reporter, during turbulent times, in this case the Vietnam era, should only describe those things he could see in front of his face. Don't draw conclusions, don't analyse, don't - especially don't - try to place things in context, just write what you see and what you hear. (And what you feel, I would imagine, but that's me and not necessarily Mr. Fallows.)

September 11th is like that, I think. None of us will know what this is about until we are able to look back at a distance in the same way the sixties and seventies didn't make any sense while we were muddling through. While I was muddling through. So maybe I should take Mr. Fallows advice, not only in times of trouble and turmoil, but in all times. Well, come to think of it, when was the last time you remember things weren't turbulent and weird?

We work in a building that has two sets of entrance doors, a set of three with two doors each on either side of the building. Today they closed all but one of those doors and manned it with two or three security people who made you show your entrance badge before they would let you in. You must inform building security of any visitors you have coming the day before their arrival. They also posted a guard at the building's underground parking facility, closed the chain link fence at the entrance and inspected each car as it entered for, one assumes, explosives. We received an email today saying this is now standard policy.

I came home after noon to meet the DSL people when they came to check the line and sat here in my apartment to wait through the agreed 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM four hour window. OK. Time to begin this entry, time to arrange and pack for the new apartment. The mental mud of last week seems to have cleared and I'm ready to move, ready to clean up a thousand things I've been putting off, ready to get on. No more speculating on the end of the world: spend more time living in what's left, 'cause there ain't no other option. Maybe do some laundry.... Nah.

Later. The problem was at the phone company, a bad router table, something they could have easily handled without a visit.Photo taken at lunch. Great. Still, it works. Email, the web, communication. Things are looking better. I returned to the office to find that everyone in my group, at least, had left for the day. Unusual. Our whole building seemed empty. I wonder why? Not many calls to the technical support section next to my group. No one needing something yesterday. Write some email. Post some reports. Go across the street and pick up a contact sheet of the last roll of film I shot at the Solano Stroll. One or two good pictures, one of them at the top. It was taken at the Solano Stroll before the events of September 11th, but it sets a tone for the week that followed.

So, tomorrow I track down the guys who moved me into this apartment (please, please, be out there, be available), get phone service in the new place and order DSL. I spent some time measuring my book cases, desk, speaker columns, stereo, television cabinet, bed, dresser and the rest and compared them to measurements I took over the weekend at the new apartment.

Looks good. Looks like I have a little more room, room enough to have an actual living room without a computer desk sitting in the middle (Fits in the dining area next to the kitchen. Old farts don't need dining tables.). I also measured the sliding glass door to the balcony. This weekend I'll buy a replacement door with a built in cat door (as I should have done when I moved into here) so Wuss can go outside to the balcony while I'm gone, and, perhaps more important, use the old automated litter box. Get rid of this space age plastic stuff he loves so little.

The banner photograph was taken at the Berkeley Solano Stroll, the second photograph is of a fellow techie taken over lunch in Oakland.