Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 9/11 Story

I was driving to work, listening to the radio and waiting for the replay of David Letterman's Top Ten List to come on. The breaking news "swoosh* came on, and Tom Hughes on WGST announced that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. Now, just a few weeks before that, someone in a parasail had fouled his rig on the Statue of Liberty. So, I thought that this was some brainwipe in a Cessna whose stunt had gone awry. Only when I got in to work did I hear that both had been hit. I tried to connect to various news websites, but the national ones were all jammed. So I hit upon the idea of connecting to some West Coast newspapers' websites before their patrons woke up, because I knew they would be running wire photos and reports. I finally got through to the website of the Sacramento Bee. (I later sent their webmaster a thank-you for his hard work.) I was so stunned that it wasn't until after lunch that it occurred to me to turn on the radio.

At one point I went down to the Publix to give a check for the Red Cross. A young man at the counter, whom I later figured out was an Arab, kept trying to make small talk with me, about how terrible the events were. I guess he, acutely aware of his nationality that day, thought I had been glaring at him. But in truth, I was lost in my own thoughts.

I got home and ate dinner in front of the TV. It was a cacophany of video loops, guest experts, officials, and reporters doing stand-ups at or near various newsworthy locations. The horrible news came cascading down all day and night. It was towards bedtime that I realized that I had been standing, not sitting, in front of the TV all evening. I woke up the next morning, from a pretty pleasant dream, only to have the awful new reality come crashing in as I woke. A few weeks later it felt as if this had been going on for months. And now, ten years later, I remember it as vividly as if it had happened last week.