|ENTRY ONE: September 11th, Two-Thousand and One|
on 2001-09-11, at 6:33 p.m.
|I'm absolutely numb inside.
This is something that you see in movies, and that's all.
That's a wrap folks, we'll see you tomorrow.
Re-set World Trade Center, and we'll pick it up in the morning.
But it's not a movie.
I was thinking, "I haven't slept in 48 hours, I must have fallen asleep trying to stay awake before school."
Please, Wake up...
There's no waking up, and there's no way I'm ever going to forget this day, for a number of reasons.
I am, by nature, an exaggerator, but I know that years and years from now, when I tell this story, of what happened to me this day, there will be no need...
I was leaving Biology, ready to skip my last class of the day to catch up on some sleep.
As I'm walking out to the parking lot, I happen to notice that I had missed a call on my cell phone.
It was from a friend of mine who works for a local independant newspaper. I talk to him at work quite a bit, so I thought nothing of this.
I listened to the message he left, and in hindsight, I'll never forget it...
"Hey, you need to get your ass outta bed, and turn on the news."
I called him back, quite confused as to the meaning, and couldn't help notice in the back of my mind that many conversations around me included the words "plane", and "tower".
"Thank you for calling Watermark, this is Alan."
"Hey, what's up? What was that message about?"
"Have you seen the news?"
"Two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center."
That was it.
That was my reaction.
Because I had no idea what to say.
No matter what you think you can handle, there's no response that seems right in that type of situation.
I immediately called my father, who seemed to be anticipating it.
He asked if I was ok, I said yes.
I asked if he had heard from my mother, who is up North at this very moment.
He said no.
That's when it hit me.
Now, I knew my mother was up there at my grandmothers house, which is in northern New Jersey, but every single worst case scenario went through my mind, and as I drove back toward my house, I tried calling and calling.
But got no answer.
I don't know what I felt at that moment. Despair? I don't know...somehow it felt deeper...as the thought of where my mother was raced through my mind, the thought of all of my friends in NYC, and Washington DC suddenly hit me as well.
This was when I lost it, I don't know how I could continue to drive, my body was shaking, I was wracked with sobs, and for some unknown reason, I chose this time to call into work to tell them I wasn't coming in.
I'll never know how my manager managed to translate my words into some sort of cohesive sentence, but I'm glad she did.
I really don't remember anything from that part of the day until I actually heard my mothers voice, but I'd rather not ever relive those emotions.
It rang, and rang, and rang...and finally, "Hello?"
I've never wanted to hear anyone's voice more in my life.
The ironic part is, they had been out at the Doctors office, and had really heard nothing, I was the one who told her about it.
We talked for a while, and I was fine, then as I was about to hang up, she said what she always says...
"I love you."
I was home at this point, and just collapsed in my chair, I tried and tried to echo her words, but I was choking on my tears, nothing came out.
I'm sure she knew what I was trying to say, because she said it again, and that she would see me as soon as she could get a flight back to Florida.
Now, I had my friends to worry about...
I've said this in entries before, jokingly, but I say it now in grim seriousness.
Thank God for the Internet.
Or Bill Gates, or Al Gore, or wherever it came from.
With phones down all over Manhattan, and cell lines clogged for hours, the only way I was able to make contact with people I knew up there was via AOL, and as silly as it sounds, I really took to heart their corporate tagline of "Bringing America Together".
Because for me, that's exactly what it did.
I was able to get in contact, or get word about all my friends through Instant Message, and it's done more for me today than I ever thought possible out of a computer program.
Right in front of me at this very second is a picture I took just last December.
It's a panoramic photo of the New York City skyline, taken from the top of the Empire State Building. To the left, you can see edge of Brooklyn, and to the Right, like a tiny beacon, is the Statue of Liberty.
And just about in the very center of the photo, are the Twin Towers, twice the size of the next tallest buiding on the horizon.
They're right fucking there.
They'll always be there in that photo, I suppose, but if I hold my thumb up in front of the Trade Center, it doesn't look right...
It's not New York.
To be honest, after seeing that skyline more times than I can ever recall, I don't think if someone showed me that picture without the Towers, I would probably have quite a difficult time being able to say that that was NYC, were it not for Lady Libery in the bay.
Someday, long from now, I'm going to return to the Empire State Building, and take the same picture, from the same vantage point.
Except this time, there will be no need to block anything out with my thumb.
The country is in absolute chaos, no one has any idea what to do.
It's a feeling of someone sneaking up behind you and yelling "GO!".
You're startled, and your body starts to move, then you realize you have no idea where.
There's so many things all happening at once, Walt Disney World is closed.
Now I know how silly that sounds, but that has NEVER, EVER happened before since it opened in 1971.
Now, you'll see on the news if they mention that, that it also closed during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. However, it was closed in the morning, and when it was clear the storm would not affect us, Animal Kingdom reopened for all guests.
This is closed, nothing. All theme parks in Orlando, all shopping centers, all entertainment venues...
It's something that sounds very odd, but it's something that really makes the significance of this sink in for me.
Something else hit me today.
I was scared to go outside.
For the first time in over twenty-three years, I felt fear.
Not what I thought fear was, but actual fear.
Before today, no one could fathom somethng like this happening right here on our home turf.
That doesn't happen here.
That happens in Ireland, in India, in Israel.
This is America.
But it happened, and now, THIS is America.
The one thing that really startled me was this, and I'm sure everyone will know what I'm talking about...
You know that annoying pop-up ad, for the "X-10 Spy Camera"? Yes, you do...because everyone has seen it at some point while online. Well, if you've seen it today, you already know where I'm going with this...if you haven't, then go to its link.
I honestly now take back every bad thing I've ever said about this company.
No matter how you want to look at this, we're all living through history right now. This is the biggest thing that has happened to any of us in our lifetimes. It's bigger than Pearl Harbor, bigger than Kennedy, bigger than anything you can think of.
I cannot, nor do I want to, imagine seeing this happen firsthand.
But as I talk to some of my friends, they describe watching with their own eyes, one, or both of the Towers going down.
I've seen the collapse, and the actual plane crash over and over and over again...from every concievable angle, and it's never ever going to leave my mind, but I know that all that together could never compare to seeing it actually happen, regardless of how close, or far away you were in the City.
This is really a time for everyone to come together, to be there for one another, and to support your fellow man.
Call your parents if you can, tell them you love them.
Call your friends, tell them you love them.
If you have an American Flag, fly it.
Keep everyone affected by this in your thoughts, and depending on what you personally believe, your prayers as well.
Hopefully, this is over, and we as a nation can focus attention on the aftermath, and on bringing those responsible to justice.
Thinking of everyone, especially those of you in New York.
Prodigal Son - 11:03 pm , 11.20.06 So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish - 6:41 pm , 05.29.05 The Beginning of the End - 1:15 pm , 11.22.04 Brand Positioning - 2:13 am , 09.20.04 A Pop Culture Case Study - 9:24 pm , 08.26.04
Prodigal Son - 11:03 pm , 11.20.06
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish - 6:41 pm , 05.29.05
The Beginning of the End - 1:15 pm , 11.22.04
Brand Positioning - 2:13 am , 09.20.04
A Pop Culture Case Study - 9:24 pm , 08.26.04
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