Letting go of 9/11 dust

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Almost every time I visit my therapist at Gouverneur Medical Center in Manhattan, she reminds me to continue cleaning out my apartment that had filled up with hoarded objects. Three of these objects went on eBay today. The most difficult item was a filter cartridge that contained particles from the World Trade Center.

After the representatives at FEMA refused to provide me an air conditioner, I became sick with bronchitis as soot from the smoldering fire a mile away seeped through the cracks around my window panes. Every morning I would blow my nose and the tissue turned black.

HEPA air conditioners were expensive. After some research, I decided to buy the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze compact or apartment-sized ionizer, and used a credit card to get it. At first, every day the metal blades became covered in black soot. Eventually, I was able to leave a set of blades in for a week before they needed cleaning. Years later, people complained that it didn’t work, but all I can say is that it helped me. One of my former roommates and former friends, who shall remain nameless, failed to understand my psychological injury and threw away my air purifier claiming it didn’t work. When I didn’t remember she did that, I got angry and she got defensive. It had worked well for me. That was the beginning of the end of that friendship. I still had the extra set of ionizer blades in my closet.

Here we are 16-and-a-half years after that dreadful day and I’m ready to let it go. More like, I’m ready to do what it takes to get rid of it without polluting the planet. I’ve been ready to get rid of it for a long time, but I struggle with the concept of waste and refuse to just put it in recycling. Besides, I doubt any company would take the time to remove the plastic from the metal just to recycle the metal. Plus, it contains other potentially toxic materials used in electronics.

I titled my eBay post, “Sharper Image Compact Ionic Breeze Filter Blade from 2001 has WTC 9/11 particles” and then changed the year to 2002. Alas, my poor memory. The description also mentioned the soot. Then I vacillated between making it an auction only to remind eBay users all over the world for ten days that 9/11 happened, and making it a Buy It Now item with a stupid low price so I can just get rid of it. Additionally, I’ve set up the listing so that a charity receives 100% of the proceeds. I had never heard of the charity before today, but it sounded like the right cause: helping 9/11 victims who probably don’t get counseling through the WTC health program and other related activities.

Then I found a box for the item, weighed it all, and added options for delivery on the post. Holding the item and thinking about how long it had been sitting in my closet and thinking about how my coughing fits turned into peaceful nights of sleep brought me bittersweet tears. And then it brought back memories of stress. I decided to use Buy It Now and hoped someone would just take it. Surely someone out there has the same model I had and needs this thing.

When my posting was finally done, and after changing details in the listing a few times, I choked back more tears. What am I going to do if it doesn’t sell? I guess it may go to electronics recycling after all.

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