Friday, September 12, 2008

nine eleven

A day late I guess. It's 2am but I still count this as September 11th. Honestly, I think about 9-11-01 exactly never these days. The only time it crosses my mind is when I see W. or Guiliani speak and I sarcastically say in my thick liberal accent "Let's see how many times they mention 9-11, hahahahahaha. Jerks."

Anyway I'm driving home and Joy is texting me about a 9-11 show she's watching on the History Channel and I'm all "I don't even want to think about that. I just want to think about the snow leopards I just saw on Letterman."

But I can't ignore it really. It's one of those things that I just can't believe really happened. And I don't mean "can't believe" like "i can't believe this is fat free!" I mean can't believe like "what? you're making this up." When I think about 9-11 I might as well be thinking about a time-traveling zombie slapping me in the face. I just can't comprehend it.

Funny thing is, the world is full of tragedy and atrocity amazingly even more devastating than 9-11, but those tragedies aren't on TV. I think I've seen the images from that day so many times that I was desensitized to it for a while. But now they freak me out, more so than ever. I don't want to see any of that imagery, I don't even want to think about it because it makes me physically uncomfortable.

Anyway, I'm going to dive into my own thoughts here and write about my own memories of that day, stream of consciousness style.

The alarm goes off probably around 9am MST. Clock radio, Radio from Hell with Kerry, Bill, and Gina. The first thing I hear is Bill say "there are bodies falling out of the World Trade Center" and I'm barely awake and wondering if I'm really hearing this. I pay closer attention. Details are sketchy. A lot of stuff is reported that ended up not being true. "the national mall is on fire, there was a suicide bomber near the White House," stuff like that. I listen a bit more and get the story. A plane crashed into one of the Towers, then while the news was covering that another plane crashed into the other one, live. I'm picturing small planes at this point. Little propeller driven numbers. I turn on the TV and see the smoking towers. Scary shit. I call my dad who's on his way to work and I say "Have you seen this?" "No, what?" "We're under attack!" "What?" "Turn on the news! Planes have crashed into the World Trade Center!" He tells me to start taping CNN because he has a VHS archive of every major news event from the past twenty years. I was watching live as both towers collapsed. When I heard the word collapse I had no idea of the devastation. I didn't think collapse meant that the whole thing came down.

I go to work. I'm wearing a grey polo shirt that in retrospect was probably too small for me. The mood is "off" but not too grim or solemn. Business as usual for the most part, except we have a TV showing the news. I was a boss type at that job so I don't really have to do any work. Just talk to people and watched the news. An angry customer called and was really mad because his shuttle was late picking him up from the airport. That guy needs to take a look at the bigger picture.

I had to go to Spanish class at the U. Had a test that day. Me and Original Emily (not to be confused with Regular Emily) had that class together but eventually withdrew. There a guy in the class in the ROTC... during class he was always using one of those forearm exercise grip things. And one time I glanced at his notebook and noticed he had written the word "Kill" all over the page. I wonder if he ever made it to the Marines, and if so what fate has befallen him.

Later I went back to work and went to get lunch at Skool Lunch with this girl Crystal, who months later would suffer severe brain damage in an ATV accident.

Oh here she is on myspace. Looks like she's doing alright. Hmm, I always thought she was older than that...

My friend Jared calls while I'm at lunch and we discuss the events of the day. This was before text messaging. At least before I or anyone I knew had it. If text messaging was around I'm sure my thumb would have been blistered by the end of the day.

I work til fairly late that night. Eventually we figure out that Al Queda is responsible. Grainy footage shows rocket attacks hitting Kabul. This middle-eastern fellow, who's name escapes me, was incredulous. "They're already attacking Kabul? But we don't even know what really happened!" Later we found out it was the Northern Alliance attacking Kabul. Anyway this guy was really fashionable and one time he spoke with Kenneth Cole on the phone and was really excited.

A little over a month later, the office was shut down. The corporate goons blamed 9-11 but I think that was just a convenient excuse. Doesn't matter anyway. One of the guys that worked there, his grandmother and aunt were on one of the planes. I can't even imagine the horror that family had to deal with. Actually I can, I just don't want to.

In the Fall of 2003 I go to New York for the first time. Ground Zero isn't what I expected. There's no heaviness in the air. Aside from the mess there's no sense that something terrible once happened there. Lots of people taking pictures (including me), and street vendors, literally hundreds of them, selling cheap WTC merchandise. There's something very American about that, for good and for ill. At the time I'm disgusted by it though.

I like this mural. The building had to come down because it was unstable and couldn't be saved.

In 2002 I started working for Marriott, and every once in a while around the office I'd find those cubicle clip thingies -the things you jam into the cubicle wall to hold papers- with the logo of the Marriott World Trade Center. Who knows how long they'd been sitting there. That hotel was destroyed along with the towers. Strange that those relics live on.

But hey! How about footage of the World Trade Center that makes me sick for a different reason? In 1974 this crazy bastard tight rope walked across the very top of the newly constructed Twin Towers. I heard about this story many years ago and thought it would make a great movie. Someone beat me to it and made this:

It's good. See it.

Alright. Let's get back to talking about round-ball sports and glowing signs...


  1. radio from hell is how i learned about 9/11 too.

    i don't know why, but that always seemed significant. i actually wrote carey an e-mail telling him that he was the one who informed me of the tragedy and that i would always remember hearing him describe it.

    i have no idea why i did that, but it just seemed like i should.

  2. I saw them replay the braodcast from 9.11 on MSNBC on Thursda night and it was still scary even after having seen it so many times.

    I was suprised when I actually yelled out.

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