Monday, September 11, 2006

It was a day.

I got up and went to work that day. As normal, I rode BART to downtown Oakland and hopped a bus to Alameda. On BART, I heard people talking about something that was going on in New York and maybe DC and did you hear what happened? I wasn't quite sure what to think, so when I got to work (I was the first one there, working extra hours before my upcoming trip to Colorado; my boss made us make up the time beforehand if we wanted any time off), I turned on my computer and checked out CNN. When I realized what was happening, I went to my message board and turned on my instant messenger to try to find my friends in New York and DC. Luckily, all my internet people checked in at some point that morning.

My boss called and told me that he was closing the office; that he had called most people at home and the few others who were en route should be told to go home. We locked up and left. I went back to Berkeley, unsure what to do with myself. It was the middle of a Tuesday. What could I do?

I avoided calling my Oldest Friend who was living in DC at the time. I figured that her cell phone wouldn't work or at least that it was best not to tie up the lines, so I called her parents to make sure they had heard from her.

I decided to go to downtown Berkeley and see what was going on. I shopped on Telegraph; about half the stores were closed. I wandered around, not sure what to do with myself. I just couldn't understand this thing. I couldn't comprehend what had happened. The numbers in the news reports made no sense; the whole situation made no sense.

That night, I talked to the Hulk and my mom. My roommates and I had a TV that was used for watching videos; we didn't have cable or a rabbit ears or anything so it wasn't until years later (while watching Farenheit 911) that I even saw the famous footage of the towers being hit, burning, collapsing. To this day I am so glad that I didn't watch it happen over and over. So many people I know got sucked into watching it and couldn't look away. I couldn't look at all; only at stills and read the news and listen to the firsthand accounts of my friends in NYC and DC.

I was supposed to go to Colorado two days later, and obviously that didn't happen because all air traffic was still grounded. My flight got rescheduled for a week later, and at first my boss was a total dick about it ("You asked for Those Days off, not days a week later. You will take Those Days off like you said") and it took hours for me to convince him that I Can't Go To Colorado Like I Planned for Those Days So There's No Point In Me Taking Those Days Off and Can I Please Change My Time Off To Next Week?

My friend Heather got married on September 9, and was supposed to go on her honeymoon September 11 (Her birthday was September 13 and she was supposed to be on the beach in Hawaii having a Mai Tai). That didn't happen; they lost all their reservations and money and couldn't get anything refunded. They didn't go on their honeymoon 'til years later.

The tragedies of September 11 only affected me in the way that they affected most of the country; my friends who lived in the affected places were all OK, and my sadness and anger was for the situation and the people who were affected. I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to feel about the whole thing. But I do know that I feel far less safe today, after all these supposed changes to airport security and all the other things this administration has done to make us "safer," than I did on September 11, 2001.

1 comment:

Yank In Texas said...

I remember that day so vividly. The boy calling me to say that a plane had hit the WTC center. Going online to find out what had happened and being frustrated that the net was so slow at the time. Then the call that the other tower was hit. And no one at work caring, even though we were right next to Dulles. Then the rumors that a plane came from Dulles. And then the Pentagon being hit. Running outside to see something, anything. Freaking out. Still no one really caring at work. Phone calls not going through. Not being able to get in touch with my family to let them know I was ok, that I was nowhere near the mess.
Then the silence. No planes. Planes going to and from Dulles used to fly over my apartment as part of the landing pattern. The silence was eerie. Going over to a friend's apartment later that week and standing on his balconey, overlooking the Pentagon and the gaping hole. The smoke was still rising. It was a freaky day.