Today I was planning on writing a cover letter for an interesting job I'd spotted yesterday, otherwise looking for work and calling to make an appointment to get my hair cut.
Around 8:30am the phone rang. I ignored it and it went to voicemail. It rang again. Ugh. Maybe I should go get that. Went to voicemail. Started ringing again. I fling my robe on and lurch sleepily from my bedroom down the hall into the dining area and grab the phone.
"Some planes crashed into the world trade center and the pentagon and oh my god the world is coming to an end!"
It's my girlfriend, caller-id shows her work and I recognize her voice, if not her tone.
"It's so horrible. People dying, buildings exploding. I heard about it in the coffee shop before I went into work this morning."
"Oh god. That sounds terrible."
More coherent details follow. Somehow I figure out that the WTC
is in New York. We end the phone call and I hang up. I'm not really awake yet, but I will be soon enough.
I turn on the TV. They're showing footage of very tall burning buildings, an explosion from the second plane hitting the towers, smoke erupting from the pentagon, fire, smoke, billowing clouds of ash.
Do I know anybody around either place? I think my cousin was living around there at one point, but I'm pretty sure she's in Kansas or someplace else flat now. My aunt works for the Navy, but that's China Lake in the middle
of the Mojave. Most of my family just flew back to their respective houses a week ago from the wedding. My other cousin is in Thailand for another 2 and a half weeks on her honeymoon. I can't think of anybody. My father came back from Malaysia last week and doesn't fly off to China until Sunday.
More television. More smoke. More fire. More terrible deaths. More details. We get about 50 channels on our cable. I flip through, counting: 20 have something resembling normal programming, 30 are now CNN, CBS, Fox or
"We're off the air, go watch your news channel". VH1 is CBS but MTV looks normal. Later MTV becomes CBS, too. More angles of the same horrors. More rumours disguised as news and news disguised as rumours. CNN.com's website has become beautifully simple; a few static pages. NPR's website is even sparser, with not much other than a link to a very slow (and intermittent) realaudio feed. Most of the "regular" programming was Kid's stuff: PBS kid's programming, Disney channel, Nickelodeon; I suppose it's good for them to stay on the air.
Wait! Derek's father just moved to NY. I chat with friends a bit online. Eventually I find out his father lives in the distant suburbs and everything's fine there.
I eat some of the baked beans I'd put in the oven Sunday night.
I didn't do any of the things I planned to do today; I watched TV, I talked with friends online, I tried to figure out and understand what the hell's happened.
It hasn't really sunk in.
And I worry that this could be turned into an excuse to take away our freedoms. Or this could be the start of WWIII.
I suppose it doesn't matter much that I didn't send off that cover letter. I'm sure I can pay October's rent somehow. It's not like there were any job postings today, anyways.
Around noon I'm talking to my girlfriend again. We both realize that the NBLUG meeting scheduled for tonight should probably be cancelled. After I get off the phone with her I go and look at my email; it's already been cancelled.
No... My cousin moved from Kansas to DC. I hope she's okay.