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October 16, 2001
Mr. Gökdemir Has Left the Building

Plane approaching National Airport

Where am I? Where have I been? Why do I sound like Admiral Stockdale when I'm not?

I want to write a note to myself. It'll say, "Don't take on three projects at once." I should write it on the back side of my to-do list. Whichever side of the page you turn to, no escape from its accusing puppy eyes. Crumble it up, throw it in the wind, start over.

I've been forced to work downtown -- something about a document that "can't leave the building." For lunch I go out and join the masses crawling around the canyons drawn by the walls of faceless government buildings. Lopsided shoulder bags, carpooling 4 am to 4 pm, baggy eyes, stooped shoulders, bad coffee, WordPerfect, polluted-stream-green pomade. Worn out, some from not having enough to do, others from having too many meaningless tasks, always having to do things backasswards. Soldiers of a gentler army, counting the years, telling you how many they've put in. (Such nice people, don't they deserve better?) Badges, too-short pant legs, neckties flapping when I come out in the evening and head toward the metro. Amazing light at that hour, the sun low and bright, a determined wind rattling the orange windows now covered with film so a bomb can't turn them into shrapnel ripping through your windpipe at 200 miles an hour.

There are false fire alarms during the day. We walk calmly down the stairs, mill about on the street until the security people tell us it's OK to go back in.

Two of the three projects will be over this Friday. I'll hang on to just one for the rest of October and November, taking it easy, going back to working on this site, among other things. Then, in December I think I'll just take the entire month off. Read, write, take more photos. I've needed to take a break for a long time.

I want Friday to come. I'm tired.


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