What Does This Mean?
When I conceived this site I thought that generating two stories next to each other randomly best fit my idea: while the planned attacks were anything but random, the effects of these acts seemed indiscriminate. The circumstances of where we were and the split decisions we made that day held great importance. So the site was programmed to generated two side-by-side stories in a totally random manner.
But as this site has developed as more people have submitted their entries, it has become clear that being able to link stories so that they either came up next to each other or one after another offered the opportunity to build relationships between people's experiences. This mirrors our collective response to the attacks, the anthrax scares, and the war in Afghanistan. We are looking for things that connect us as a people. As well, we are looking for a way to understand how other humans can think so differently.
With these thoughts in mind, we reprogrammed the site to allow me to link stories when appropriate. For example, a husband and wife submitted their own accounts of September 11. Each started out in a different physical place but because of their young daughter, their stories became intertwined as they made plans to retrieve her from her daycare close to DC's Ground Zero. When one of these stories comes up randomly on the Pairings page, the next story will appear when the user chooses to view another pairing.
We share thousands of interwoven experiences because of these events. Some connect those who know each other but others connect strangers. Dichotomy is trying to embody these associations within the site.