9.11 and after

Sept. 11, 12:59 p.m.
Flatbush Ave., a few blocks from my apartment. The sidewalks were full of people walking from the Manhattan Bridge, about a mile away.

In the afternoon I was feeling useless and alone, and the smoke was starting to blow into my apartment. So I went out on my bike.

At a blood donation center in downtown Brooklyn there was a crowd around the door. In the middle of the crowd was a young man in a tailored suit. There was a fine white ash on his hair and shoulders, indicating that he had come straight there from lower Manhattan. When someone came out and told us that there were too many donors and that we should come back that night, he continued to stand there with a blank expression on his face.

At the blood center I had locked my bike to a pole, then thought that this seemed ridiculous. Was it because nobody would be stealing bikes on such a day, or because there were bigger things to worry about?