Everybody remembers where they were on 9/11/2001. My mother-in-law was sheduled for heart surgery that morning. Both my husband and me were by her side, as well as my husband's sister were all at her side as her physician explained to all of us what would take place over the next few hours. It was just before 9 a. m. on a beautiful clear September morning in Brooklyn. Suddenly, my brother-in-law Bob, came rushing in.
"Ah, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center."
We all looked at him like he was growing another head. The doctor stopped in mid-sentence, starred at him over his readers, and then carried on, making sure the rest of us were paying attention. He totally ignored Bob. We all did.
The doctor finished, my mother-in-law was rushed into a waiting elevator. I turned on my heel and pushed through swinging doors. We walked silently down the corridor; my thoughts were only of poor Janet and how she was either crazy or incredibly brave to have a by-pass at 89. As I entered the waiting room, I saw the second plane fly into the second building from the enormous window in the waiting room. I glanced at the TV. Same picture. I didn't know which to look at, the view out the window or the TV. Outside the window was closer, bigger, the color was better. I looked at the TV. There were specks flying around the building, partially in flames, now. I looked back at the building. The specks were chairs, desks, bodies, copier machines, trash, papers, people holding hands and jumping together. Flames leapt at some windows. People tumbled through the air. I couldn't believe how many people were in the air. Directly across from the window where I was standing, I saw a man appear in an open window. He was still sitting in his office chair, but the building had somehow shifted, and he was in danger of rolling out. He grabbed onto both sides of the window, but was unable to hold on. the weight of the chair pushed through first. It forced his hands in an upward motion, and he and the chair somersaulted into the air.
I turned back to the TV just in time to see the first tower fall.
"I can't believe I'm watching the World Trade Center come down just like those old hotels in Vegas," I said to no one in particular. My immediate thought was that someone must have bombed the headers, because that's the only way a building like that can fall in a heap like that - those were my first suspicions that it was an inside job. No one was talking. Everyone was glued to the scene outside in Manhattan.
My daughter was at FIT in college. Thank God they hadn't bombed Times Square! The cells were all out. She had awoken to an explosion which had been when the first plane hit. She ran all the way up to 86th Street to call us on our accountant's land line to let us know she was ok. All the bridges were closed. She was a prisoner of New York.
"There's fighter jets -fighter jets!!! over New York," she wailed. "What kind of asshole would bomb New York?"
By evening, the news was reporting someone had claimed responsibility - that was the first time I'd ever heard the name Osama Bin Laden or his infamous Al Quaeda.
"I remember Colin Powell's response: Those guys can barely get a car bomb to go off, much less coordinate something like this -"
And then there was Donald Rumsfield. "We oughta get a bunch of chemicals in a crop duster and just shshzzzzooommmm right over Afghanistan!" He looked a little unhinged, zooming his arms in front of his face to simulate a plane in flight, the light from his glasses catching the camera, the crazy grin on his face.
Life somehow went on. My daughter's boyfriend, Keith, had been looking for a house to rent on Long Island, but staying with us in the meantime. We came home one afternoon to see the answering machine blinking.
"Hi. This is Al (pause) Kaida, (pronounced the same way!), your real estate expert on Long Island calling you to let you know I've got quite a few listings here that we could go see..."
Keith was too freaked to even call him back! But I always had this fantasy in the back of my mind to introduce Al to Osama - just to see the look on his face when he found out his almighty terrorist organization had the same sounding name as some ordinary kike on Long Island.
"Oy, nice cave. And I can see you've put in some lovely improvements here, with the rock. But a little far to the market for the wives, eh? If you ever think about living on The Island, call me. I know some great properties right next to King Kullen in Wantaugh - nice neighborhood - good schools. Oy, why the long face, Osama?"
[posted by richardporter for pixelasana]