ARE we going to remember this time around? Are we going to cling to the lessons we learned last week? We have vowed to do better before. We have faced tragedy and sworn to hug our children closer, call our parents more often, stop and smell the roses. And, for a short while we actually have.
Writing about life and work means flirting with hypocrisy. Every other week in this newspaper, I chronicle the fight to keep an eye on what’s important. In the choice between life and work, I say, choose life. Yet, getting those 800 words onto the page often means losing sight of all I preach. It means putting off my children or feeding my ulcer, because, for the moments I am writing, the writing is the all-enveloping thing. I work because I love it and because I like the goodies it brings me and because it layers order over my life. But last week I watched live on my office television as the world’s most visible workplace disintegrated into rubble. Work can not bring order in a world of chaos.
No work was done that day. Not around the obliterated World Trade Center and not anywhere in the country. Our phones didn’t work and our planes didn’t fly and our overnight packages didn’t arrive and it didn’t matter. The only job worth doing was rescue work, and the rest of us just sat and watched. We clustered around our television sets, as we did when the Challenger exploded, and when the Oklahoma City federal building was bombed, and when shots rang out at Columbine High School. We didn’t bother to cancel meetings; we just assumed they would not happen. We didn’t return telephone calls unless they were from someone we loved. READ MORE