Downtown Diary 

"Evening in Fountain Square"

"Evening in Fountain Square"
L. and I had dinner last Saturday evening on the patio of Santorini Greek Kitchen on Shelby Street. Twilight in Fountain Square! Mediterranean music blared from Santorini"s patio loudspeaker; a bellydancer wove through the tables practicing her sensuous art; a few effortlessly fashionable Latino youths walked by; an artsy fellow wearing super-sized, black, plastic-framed glasses yelled across the street to his friend, the piercing on his Adam"s apple vibrating at a pitch so high that it caused a dog to lie on the sidewalk and hold his paws over his ears in pain; a rusty pickup truck idled at the curb, a country and western song (concerning heartbreak, if I recall correctly) wafting through the open passenger-side window. I sat admiring the collision of cultures, then began gawking slack-jawed at the bellydancer, whereupon L. smacked me upon the back of my head, bringing me, quite suddenly, back to reality. Hector, more disheveled than usual with his hair in a vertical shock and eyes like pinwheels, approached our table and collapsed into a chair. "I can"t take it ... I just can"t take it ..." he muttered confusedly. "What"s wrong, Hector?" I asked. "Every time I turn the TV on it"s those same images over and over again ... I see those images in my sleep ... I feel like there"s no escape from those images ... Horrifying! Horrifying! Oh, the humanity! I just can"t take it any more! I must somehow escape those images! J, I feel like I"m losing my mind! Every time I turn on the TV, boom! There it is ... the images, the sounds run like a tape loop in my mind ... " "Now now, dear fellow," I comforted him, rubbing his arm, "don"t despair. Images of the 9/11 tragedy are truly frightening, and I"m sure the approaching anniversary has reactivated your anxieties." "9/11? Who said anything about 9/11? I"m talking about that public television fund-raising drive!"

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