Sunday, September 11, 2005

Where Were You?

On the night of Sept. 10th, I was having trouble sleeping. I don't remember why, I just was.

Sometime around 3 AM, I decided that I wasn't going to be able to sleep, so I decided to get up, get ready for school, and go to Denny's to commandeer a large booth at which I would correct a massive stack of papers and eat a massive breakfast.

It was very quiet when I got there, and still dark out. As the sun struggled up, and I had begun to make a dent in both my stack of papers and my stack of pancakes, the restaurant gradually filled with a variety of people who had just begun their day. A man of about my age sat down in the booth facing me. I hunched over my papers so as not to get caught in any small talk, seeing as how that would take focus away from the task at hand. Besides, I am not at all a morning person. I hate talking at that hour.

I noticed the man checking and re-checking his cell phone impatiently, as if he had been stood up.

Then, I guess around 6 AM, a group of students from UCR came in, leading a line of new fraternity pledges who had apparently been kidnapped for breakfast. They were dressed in bathrobes and slippers and all were having a good, loud time.

Shortly after they were seated, a guy rushed in and sat down with the man across from me. "You'll never believe why I was late," he said, and began telling his friend about the attack.

I listened for a bit and then, paying my bill, got in my car and turned on the radio and heard Rick Dees sharing the news as he got it, punctuating it with comments like "Moments like this are what I have trained my whole life for."

I drove home, which wasn't far, to turn on the news and see what was happening. I got there just as the second tower had started to fall. Like many, I couldn't turn the TV off and was almost late to work.


vivage said...

I was sleeping, got up to get ready for work and there it was on the television. Went to work in my carpool where we listened to it on the radio. I remember the day being very clear with very clear blue skies. Everyone seemed to be scanning the skies/the horizon for planes.

Don't know why I went to work, the whole day was shot to hell (in terms of any business getting done at all). The very next day Corporate sent out a memo saying: Please get back to work and strive to conduct business as usual.

Billy Canary said...

KTLA Channel 5. Crummy TV set in the back bedroom. Virginia's mom had etched something in Japanese on the top of the TV. It was 6:05. Drove the kids to school. It was crystal clear and beautiful. And it seemed somehow very quiet. Dropped the kids off at school and someone on the radio said that the pentagon had been hit. I don't remember anything unusual in my class of 6th graders. A few were absent. The TV was on all day in the lounge. One of the Born Again Teachers walked thru saying it was "the end of the world." I thought "What a stupid thing to say!". Later, our Captain Queegian principal decided we should all stand on the playground for a moment of silence. After we were silent, she played Whitney Huston's version of the Star Spangled Banner at full volume over the school PA system. It was incredibly loud, just shrieking and ugly sounding. We stood ther with our heads bowed and endured the caterwhauling. Nothing reverent about it. I was trying to stifle my giggling; the sound was so awful! I think the kids thought I was crying. Little incongruities always seem to pop up during times of solemnity.
I still look at planes with suspicion.

O'Hicks said...

I remember it well,
I was at work (on the East coast)
in the parking lot for a fire drill.One of the support staff was coming in and mentioned a plane flew into a WTC tower. I'm thinking a little cessna went off course.
Later we heard it was a big plane. Working with children, we're trying to find out information without alarming them. I called my husband to find out. I had to use code words so kids wouldn't hear what I was talking about. He thought I was talking about the plane into the Pentagon. Then we heard about the 2nd plane followed by the plane in PA. Since I live there we were all a little concerned. I finally got to go into a 5th grade room where no students were and watch it on T.V.
I'll never forget the image of the airliner going in to the 2nd tower.

I got to go to ground zero in the early Spring following 9/11. Fences were covered with condolences from people all over the world. Sarah McGlaughlin even signed something.

A friend of my eldest lost an Uncle. "Let's Roll" lived right across the river.