At this point, I should confess full disclosure: for the past four months, I have been one of the approximately 25,000 workers who report to the Pentagon every morning, shuffling through the brightly-polished corridors like automatons. I have a desk in an E-Ring office — in fact, the precise spot where the nose of Flight 77 struck the building on September 11, 2001. The plane entered and barreled through the wall of my office and didn’t stop until it got to the inner C Ring. If I’d been there on that day, I would have been vaporized. It’s spine-shuddering to think about all those people who once sat where I now tap on my keyboard. Every day, I work with ghosts.
I have not come anywhere close to walking all of the nearly 18 miles of corridors on the building’s five floors. I alternately tell people I work in the “womb” or the “bowels” of the Pentagon, but honestly there’s little blood-warmth in the building. For all its brightness and efficiency, the place where I spend the majority of my day remains a mysterious, impersonal hive full of strangers passing strangers.
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