An Inclusive Litany

10/23/01

Philip Weiss reports from an upscale New York restaurant that served meals to rescue workers, in the New York Observer, October 15, 2001:
Any writer my age grew up with the statement by Ernest Hemingway that war is the best material and wondered if that was true, and whether we would ever get it. In Bouley's kitchen, I had my first taste of war. The feeling of doing important work, side by side, and trying to suppress your ego. The fluidity—that everyone was being called and that if you showed the right energy and purpose you could excel, and your job might change, you would get more responsibility in an instant. The chaos—two refrigerated trucks pulled up and we were suddenly, senselessly loading boxes of cheap tomato sauce from one to the other. The shortages—for hours there were not enough lids for the trays, and I had to go next door, or harass the dishwashers. The waste. Everything about normal life was turned on its head. Of course, I am talking about life behind the lines. Still, it was monstrously exciting.

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