11 September 2006

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I was working as the horticulturist for Parks. I'd just stopped by one of the baseball fields and checked on some trees that needed work. I was heading out to City Hall and tuned in NPR. They were doing a several-part series on what George W. had been doing for education. "Ha!" I said. "This'll be interesting." Just then they broke in with news that a plane had flown into the WTC. I was like, That pilot must have been blindfolded. How the hell do you crash into a building like that?

Got down to City Hall, turned up the radio, left the truck door open, started weeding geraniums. And then they reported that the second plane had crashed into the second tower. And I just went really still and thought, oh. They did that on purpose. And I wondered what the heck we were in for. And I thought, Well, I guess I'm not going to hear the rest of that education report.

Switched stations on the radio all morning, finally settled on an ABC affiliate with Peter Jennings, who I like, and heard about the tower coming down, something that I could not imagine until I went home for lunch to cuddle my little girl, who was three months old, and saw the footage on TV, and it was awful. My dad was a war baby, I was a war baby, and now my girl was born into a war.

The two-way radio at work was silent all day. Some folks came outside from City Hall to pray. All the blinds in the windows were closed. I was wondering what kind of plane would be able to clear Museum Hill and hit a three-story building. But all day I pulled weeds as best I could and listened to the radio. There was no place on the dial that was playing any music: just dire news pouring out of the speakers. Blue sky, lovely weather, little sparrows hopping around under the truck. So weird. Then after work, horrendous lines at the gas pumps, and I sat in them.

But several days later, when the Daily Show came back on, Jon Stewart said, "No, humor is not dead," and my husband and I cheered.

So where were you?

4 comments:

Don Tate II said...

Well, I work for the news media, and I felt like the world was going on without me. I watched most of the coverage that morning at home, but once i went in to work, I could only read the internet. This was the kind of story that had to be witnessed through tv. After a week, however, I was sick to my stomach.

Melinda said...

I hear you. I used to work for the local paper, and when a big story would come in, the newsroom would jump. And I while I was pulling weeds at City Hall I was wondering what it must have been like in the newsroom. They had a little TV over by copy desk, and at 6 p.m. they'd turn the sound on and watch the evening news to see if Channel 2 had scooped them on anything, but mainly to razz them. But I wondered how many people were gathered around the TV that day.

I really can't wrap my mind around the scope of the tragedy. 5,000 people killed -- that would be like everybody in this town getting killed. I can't fathom it. And I can't wrap my mind around how big those towers really were, because I don't hang around buildings of that size very often. All my points of reference are too small for me to really understand what we've lost. This really bothers me.

Lady S said...

I was doing my darndest to teach Third Graders about the subject and predicate of sentences without crying. My para came in between groups to tell me what happened, and I had an hour and a half of Literacy before I could go spend most of the afternoon in the library watching TV.

Melinda said...

Did all the teachers end up in the library watching TV? Did the kids get sent home early?