Where I Was

I'm posting my 9/11 story because it's oddly funny. Not that what happened is even remotely amusing- a national tragedy. But since everyone else seems to be sharing- I am nothing if not a lemming. But especially because my story includes running into a police officer and blatantly disobeying my mother.

I had been up that morning for a few hours already. The overlords in the Art Department deemed it necessary to force us poor little graphic design students to start our classes at 7:30am- when nobody else wanted to. The other fine arts could not be bothered to be woken from their artists' pain and angst to bother getting anything done that early. So I had already been to a Typography class and was eating my breakfast of a strawberry frosted pop tart and Diet Mountain Dew outside under some trees until my next class was to start. It was such a beautiful morning. I got a call from a friend (ahem) of the male variety who cryptically told me what had happened. We had both returned from New York barely a month earlier. I simply could not understand what he could be talking about. A plane? Crashing into the twin towers? What? Why? The mental picture in my head went something like this:
The plane must have been having some type of mechanical issue, and maybe clipped the side of the building? I hope they were able to land ok.

I hung up with him and went to my next class- it was a Biology Lab, and I was not doing to well in Biology. (stupid core requirements- I just want to make some pretty logos for some snobby CEO of a crappy business. I don't need to know all this math... and science) So I went to class and sat down. Only a couple students came in when class was to start, which was really odd. A skinny PA came in and informed us that due to what was happening in New York, the class would be canceled. I still didn't really "get it." But one less mind numbingly boring biology class was a ok in my book.

... that's when my Mom called. She filled me in on the whole terrorist part of the equation. She was kind of frantic. And insisted I leave the university (because that could be the next target, Ashley!) and bee line it straight to her house. (and don't use the freeways! Or the airport tunnel!) I casually called some more friends and told them to meet up at my parent's house. If I wasn't going to class, we were going to hang out and watch some movies. I was hoping there would be pancakes.

... that's when I backed out of my parking space and promptly ran right into a police car that was patrolling the area. The officer was pretty upset. I'm not saying he was barreling down the aisles of the parking lot, but I didn't see how he could have expected me to predict he would turn onto my row as I backed out. I was pretty sure he hadn't used his turn signal. (and I probably didn't look as I backed out anyway) Luckily, there was no damage, and he let me go with "a stern warning."

... on my way home I took both the freeway and the airport tunnel. Had my mother known this at the time, she probably would have had a stroke.

... it was when I walked into my parent's living room, that I saw what was really going on. The horror and weight of the situation was being broadcast on a loop on my Mom's gigantic TV screen. That's all we did that morning, was watch in stunned silence. We hugged each other, glad to be with family and good friends.

That day changed how we all viewed the world. I would like to echo Denene Millner's statement: (as she expresses it much more eloquently than I ever could here)

"... that the Americans who hate on Muslims, and try to tell them where, when and how to practice their religion, and who threaten to burn (or actually burn) ancient holy texts like the Qur’an, and who terrorize fellow Americans who don’t think or look or roll exactly like them, and who turn their backs on this rare jewel—this jewel of freedom—for a fleeting moment in the spotlight or some sick, doofy, racist-disguised-as-patriotic rush, dishonor the 2,973 Americans who died at the hands of lunatics."

That is my part of the many stories that make up the American experience of Sept. 11th. 

1 comment:

  1. I vividly remember that day, too, Ashley. We had been in our new home about 3 whole weeks and there was still plenty of unpacking to do. When I turned on the TV, there was that surreal moment of "Is this really happening?" And then the sinking feeling of doom.... and I began calling my children to hurry home... gathering my little chicks, as it were.

    And I CAN'T BELIEVE you took the freeway AND the tunnel!!! They never listen to their mother. Argh.