Half an hour ago, at 8 A.M., I was awakened by a tremendous explosion.
Before I was even fully awake I heard the words come out of my mouth: "It's a terrorist attack!" In that split second I knew that it was not nuclear (I've given some thought to what a nuclear strike would be like), but that it was very bad. Though the blast was some distance away -- who'd bother to bomb Greenwich Village?-- the sound tore into me with a sickening sense of damage, as if my already mutilated city were my body. This takes many words to describe, but it was all instantaneous.
Listening, like on 9-11 in the moments after that queer metallic thud, I thought I heard screams and sirens. (But you can always hear screams and sirens in New York.) Then there was a sharp flash and another explosion . . . rain. Slowly, I realized that it was just an extraordinarily violent thunderstorm.
Like most New Yorkers, I live my life as if it's not going to happen. Oh, I have been saving water in gallon milk jugs lately, just out of a kind of anticipatory embarrassment: if something did happen, you'd feel so dumb if you hadn't. But as weeks go by and threats prove empty, you can start to believe, consciously at least, that maybe they really have been decoyed off to poor sacrificial Iraq, and they won't hit us here anytime soon. It was interesting to meet my own subconscious certainty that they will. My heart hammered for quite a while.