Five years ago…
Very clearly, I remember waking up to the alarm, and the news on the radio. I remember hearing the words “plane crash” through the early morning sleep-haze, and thinking, “oh lord, did something happen at Columbus airport?”
I remember stumbling out of bed and after Brett, down the hall, to snap on the TV, and staring at CNN, seeing the Towers with smoke billowing out, and going, “Huh. Must be some movie promo, get to the local news, you idiots…oh…lord…”
I remember sitting down on the couch, with Brett, and staring at the TV. And staring. And staring. I remember nearly missing breakfast; we couldn’t stop watching. We didn’t want to go to work. I remember when CNN first started getting the reports of another plane crashing in Pennsylvania, and Brett saying it was probably an unrelated accident…and me going, “no, not three at once, it’s terrorists. It was planned.”
I remember going in to work, and the silence in the office, and finding out that our parent company was housed in the Towers. That our Phoenix call-center was taking calls from our employees in New York and acting as a check-in point so we would know who was okay & alive. Oh, and that the home office in New York was the place that issued our paychecks. All those people, all those lives…and all I could think of at that point was how in the hell would me & Brett get by without the next paycheck…
I remember getting one call from a woman, who wanted to know where her statement was. I pulled up the account — New York City, a Manhattan address. And she wanted to know where her statement was. I had CNN up on my computer; I was staring at the pictures that were coming across. And as she repeated her request, I said, “Ma’am, have you looked out your window lately?”
Oh, yes, she was in sight of the towers, she could see it all from where she was at. She was calling now because she didn’t think we’d be busy. Could I fax her statement to her right away?
“Ma’am, there isn’t anything going to New York right away…”
I remember a couple days later, after the air-blockade had been lifted, and me & Brett were at the grocery store. We were heading back to the car, and we heard this LOUD engine noise, up above us. I look up, and it’s a plane, coming in low & fast, right towards us. Both of us freeze, then start running towards it, towards our car (thinking to get out of impact range if it hit the store)…only to watch in stunned relief as the plane passed harmlessly overhead, and Brett went, “Oh. Yeah. Bolton Field’s back there.” (Bolton Field is the other Columbus airport).
But five years later…nothing has changed. Not for me. Not for anyone I know. Not out here in Ohio, so far removed from New York. The world went on. Life went on. Fingers got pointed. Blame got shifted. And nothing has changed.
Which is either the dumbest tragedy of all, or the dumbest triumph. Go fig.