Monday, September 11, 2006

Where was I?

I was at work. My bosses Dh called her & said he heard on the radio a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers. Nothing was up about it on the Post or MSNBC websites yet so I called my DH, who was home overseeing air conditioner installation, and told him to turn on the TV. People are getting calls from freids and family about it. I have the only unrestricted internet connection in my immediate area so everyone is coming to me for details. YOu can't get any online, the sites are swamped. Everyone assumed it was some tragic accident. While I am talking to DH another plane hits the other Tower. Everyone is in an uproar when I announce this. (keep in mind I work in a call center, we have about 50 people taking inbound sales calls while another 10-30 people are milling about talking. everyone is on the phone. Rumors & reports are flying) Then we hear about the Pentagon. We are close enough to DC that people here have family there. I remember being on the phone with DH and him saying "There is only one tower standing! The other one has collapsed." and just praying for the people in the other that they can get out. Then it falls. HR gives up on trying to keep people informed and brings a tv up to our area and puts it on the empty desk next to me, turn it to whatever local channel we get with no cable and tell people they can come up & watch during their breaks. Some people go home. Most stay. Our main office was on Long Island. They were completely shut down by what happened and I had to deal with rerouting those calls to other centers. Not that there were many. The world is ending, you don't think about ordering adirondack chairs right then. The next day we would not be able to cope with the volume of flower order calls, but today would very very, eerily quiet.

I didn't really think about it at the time. I was interested in the story, but I spent 6 solid hours seeing the planes crash over & over, seeing the towers fall over and over, listening to the whole horror, over and over. Wondered if anyone I knew was in the towers or the pentagon (I knew people who worked in both) and knew there was no way right then for me to find out. Phone lines were jammed. I sent emails and hoped for the best. When it was time to leave I was worn out. Allthat exposure had affected me without me realizing. I was shaking & crying on the 20 minute drive home. When I got there I saw friends had come over & they were with DH watching it and talking about it & I just could not face any more of that. I was watched and talked out. I was scared and sad and shocked beyond anything. I wanted it all to go away for awhile. So I hugged DH and asked everyone to leave me alone. I went right to my bedroom, shut the door and turned on SciFi. They were doing a Star Trek marathon and for 2 hours I watched a bright, happy future, where mankind had abolished war and the human race was one happy family. I really needed that.

At 8pm I went in the living room and talked to DH (We'd spent a good chuck of the day onthe phone together) and called my parents and watched the news again. Nothing had changed of course. Speculation, but nothing real. I went outside and looked at the sky. Again it was eerily quiet. Just knowing there were no planes in the air in the country was freaky. Not that we saw many where we lived, but *knowing* it, bothered me. Knowing that if this had happened a week earlier I would have been stranded in Long Island now, I'd be watching it all live from the 8th floor of our corporate headquarters. I remember seeing the Towers from their call center windows. How can they be gone? What sort of madness would make someone do this? All those, why?

The people I knew at the WTC and the Pentagon were all alive. Some had lost friends or coworkers. I was able to watch shows about it that first year, about the WTC and the Pentagon. I can still watch some shows about technical stuff, structure, that sort of thing, but it is really really hard now for me to watch shows about the people. The survivors, yes I can watch sometime, but I can't watch about people who died. I can't stop crying when I do. I've never been able to watch anything about Flight 93. It was incredibly heroic, but it is all of my fears, all of my nightmares and I simply cannot face it.

My children were born after 2001 and this is history to them, the way Kennedy was to me. Something old people get very emotional about but time dims the reality of why to the people who were not there. Last year I spent part of Sept 11 building sand towers that my sons knocked down with great joy. It was a game we had played all summer. But suddenly I remembered what day it was and I called the game off & had to shut myself in the bathroom & cry for a little bit. They are too little to explain to yet. Someday in a few years they will come home with the assignment to ask me & their dad about it. Will I b able to explain what I thought & felt? Will I still cry when I think about it? Will I still be wondering why, still trying to grasp all of what happened?

1 comment:

Glynis said...

This is a really powerful post. I still get emotional about it and sort of hope that my feelings of that will never completely go away.