A&E

How we spent Patriot Day (September 11)

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Illustration: Travis Jackson

I spent Patriot Day go-go dancing at a nightclub. The thing I find especially appealing about go-go dancing is that no one dances with you or near you. You are at a nightclub, but your space is clearly defined. You’re isolated in a crowded room. Living in the U.S. for the past 10 years, I’ve come to thoroughly understand how much Americans value their personal space. Neighbors don’t know each other. People don’t sit next to each other in public places if they can avoid doing so. Isolation is a truly luxurious American thing, like air-conditioning. From the top of the go-go platform on Patriot Day, I looked down on the clubgoers, thankful that I could dance alone, isolated and outrageously immodest, like a true American. –Stephanie Weedin

When the non-English-speaking cleaners arrive, I lock our dog outside and slither into the home-office with my cat. Shamefully. It wasn’t planned this way, that I should celebrate Patriot Day like the lazy, oppressive American that I am; it was just serendipity. My mother is coming for a visit. The house is a stucco cut-out standing over a landfill of excessive consumer crap, dust and dog hair. Anna, the pretty Latina woman with the vacuum, smiles and nods when I pass in the living room. I return a pinched smile. I want to explain that it’s not really like this—the mess, the social divide, the really grotesque fact of my role in this scene. But my Spanish sucks. –Stacy J. Willis

What could be more purely American than going to Disneyland to spend all our money? So we did—the granddaughter’s almost 3, time for her baptismal dip in Mickey marketing. I don’t mean to be a horse’s ass, but I dislike the place; that level of branding, you can almost feel it on your hide. So my Patriot Day was mostly 10 hours of hot boredom and people-watching; I did, however, observe a few salient points about late-stage Americans: their willingness to force their kids, whom they profess to love, to dress as Disney characters; their uncritical embrace of the dangerous simple-mindedness of Small World; the way they ... aw, crap, I am a horse’s ass! At least the granddaughter loved it, so I’ll just shut my yap. –Scott Dickensheets

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