Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reflecting on September 11th

Today is September 12th. Yesterday, my husband (who is on a business trip in Boston) was awoken in his hotel by ear piercing sirens. It was an emergency evacuation. He and hundreds of other people in leopard print hotel robes bumbled around at 6:30 AM, trying to remain calm and orderly while evacuating the hotel. Afterwards, they were treated to coffee and cookies, because you see, it was an unannounced emergency drill. ON SEPTEMBER 11TH. Who possibly thought that was a good idea? Bunch of freakin idiots. There are some things you just shouldn't do.

This reminds me to tell you about Meg Cabot's heartwrenching and amazing post about her experience on September 11th, 2001.

I don't think about September 11th too often. I'm practicing the unofficial American sport of pretending bad stuff never happens.

Sometimes, when I'm unexpectedly broad-sided by September 11th reminders, I cry. One day last year when I picked my daughter up at preschool I was helping her put the dollhouse toys away, and there were the little plastic people all gathered around a tiny plastic TV with a sticker on it (you know, to supposedly show what they were watching). It was a picture of the New York City skyline circa late 1990s. The Twin Towers were there. Some little kid had at some point tried to peel the sticker off, and while one of the towers in the photo was unaffected, the other was ripped in half. I walked out of the preschool that day gulping back tears.

My uncle and his boyfriend are the only people I know who live in New York. They're pretty much the only people I know in New England, anymore. I would refer to Steve as my uncle too, they've been together that long, but he prefers to be known as my uncle's boyfriend, so whatever.

Anyway, my uncle was 100% safe on September 11th. He was at his home in Chelsea when the planes hit. But his boyfriend Steve was sitting on a plane. His was on the tarmac, 2 planes away from taking off, when the announcement came that they were grounded. According to Steve, a group of five men jumped up and had a hurried, furious conversation in a foreign language at the front of the plane before coming to some sort of an agreement and retaking their seats. Steve is absolutely certain his plane was destined to be hijacked that day too. Hours later, everyone on his plane was released. No one was detained or questioned.

Steve's company was headquartered in one of the Twin Towers. Every single one of his coworkers died that day.

Ms. Cabot's post moved me to tears. I've never read any of her books, but I think I'll pick one up. From her post, I now know that she's an excellent writer.

On a lighter note, today at the hospital, on my way back from getting a coffee, a woman approached me and told me in a very serious - and slightly urgent - tone of voice that "The code word is: pussy."

Um...okey dokey. She wasn't a patient, either. So there you go. In case you needed to know the code word too, I didn't want to leave you all in the dark.