(Before California) 40°42'48.8"N, 74°00'03.5"W

Epicenter of Seismic Activity

Date                  Time           Lat                  Lon                    Depth      Mag

2011/08/23    13:51:04    37.936111    -77.933056     4 mi.        5.8

 

At home in Brooklyn, comfortable, watching a press conference, broadcast live. 

 

Just across the East River, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. is about to announce the dropping of all charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Mr. Straus-Kahn has been accused of sexually assaulting Nafissatou Diallo, a female hotel maid, in his hotel room.

         

The district attorney has just uttered the words “To deprive a defendant of his liberty, guilt has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. For generations, this standard has protected…”

 

Suddenly, I feel vague but rapidly intensifying rumblings beneath my floor. The walls become fluid. Dishes rattle. Pictures sway. On my television, the D.A. stops, looking confused, while the camera shakes and people shout and flee. Two women hold hands, moving swiftly toward the exit.  Although a few miles apart, we are experiencing this together, but we are not. For a brief second, we collectively feel the shifting of the ground beneath our feet. The buffer of the mediated experience has disappeared.

 

Then, like a plea for help that gradually weakens and disappears, the shaking stops.

 

I switch to Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

 

The foundations, though crumbling, refuse to give way this time.

 

Photo:

Screen Capture of A.P. Video

U.S. Federal Court Building

Manhattan, New York, New York

August, 2011

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