September 11, 2011

The sun was shining through the orange treetops that September Sunday morning as Audrey and I prepared Max for his daily walk.

Audrey was six (but almost seven, as she reminded us all) with brown hair, brown eyes, and a winning smile that was missing a tooth in front. We zipped up our hooded sweatshirts and headed out into the crisp air.

She could usually fill the entire walk with her prattling on about this whimsy and that, but today she was quieter. “Mama?”

“Yes Love?” I replied, bracing myself for what I knew was coming.

“Where were you when the planes hit the buildings?”

She looked at me with a serious face that a six-year-old (but almost seven) should never be allowed to have. I sighed, for I had tried my best to keep her away from the news for the past few days and apparently failed.

“Well, Audrey, I was at work at the newspaper, far away from New York and Washington.” I lied. Two hours away from either location wasn’t far enough that day, and although 10 years have passed, it still seems like yesterday.

“How did you know?” she continued.

“Like a lot of people, I heard it on the radio and then saw it on television. I watched it with a lot of people from work. We were all very sad.”

Max snuffled and did his business by a tree. Audrey slipped her hand into mine. I thought we were through.

“Were you scared?”

I wanted to tell her I was terrified. I wanted to tell her that I thought the world was going to end. I remembered the sounds of everybody at work calling their loved ones. I remembered the stress headaches I had for weeks afterward. Instead, I took another slow breath.

“I think we all were. The pictures of the buildings being on fire and falling down on television were scary. Have you seen them?”

She nodded solemnly and I hugged her.

“Damned television,” I thought to myself. “Running those pictures over and over…they had to be promoting a 9/11 special during her cartoon time.”

Max tugged us out of the hug, and we continued around the corner. Cowed by the silence, I felt the need to continue but was interrupted.

“What did you do?”

“We knew what we had to do…we had to stay at work to make sure that we could get as much news out to our readers as possible.”

Another half-truth. Very few people wanted to stay at work that day. The Circulation and Marketing departments saw the tragic events as a revenue-building opportuntity, and rushed to put out an afternoon edition about the horrors. Reporters started to track down the victims’ familes for what would lead to a lifetime of probing questions and interview requests. Non-essential workers were sent to street corners in our circ area to hawk the extra editions. And I fought back tears as Damon and I pushed news and photos live over the website for hours without a break.

Ten years later and I still remember the dead calm of the skies as every flight was grounded for two days. I still remember watching the planes when they did begin to fly again. Was that one flying erratically? Was it flying too low? I remember the days when you could meet your loved ones at the airplane gate. I remember being able to enter Disney’s Magic Kingdom without having your bags searched.

Audrey will never know those lost freedoms, as small as they may seem.

Most of all I remember the majesty of the World Trade Center. Two utilitarian buildings, simple in their rectangular design, piercing the eastern NYC skyline. Now replaced by an artsy-fartsy memorial complex. I remember when David and I used to stay across the street from the towers. I used to scoot over to the Krispy Kreme at 5 World Trade Center in the mornings to watch the donuts come off of the conveyor belt. On one NYC trip, I lay on my back on the concrete plaza between the towers to take their photos. The tops were shrouded in fog. I deleted the picture from my digital camera, knowing I’d get a better shot another day. That day never came.

But it’s 10 years past. And Audrey is here, looking up at me, sensing that I’m deep in thought. Small child with big worries. I smiled down at her to ease her mind. “What’s most important, Audrey, is that we remember that although many people were hurt and died that sad day, our country spent a lot of money and time to make sure our planes wouldn’t be stolen again by people who want to hurt others. ” She smiled back at me, reassured by my “honesty.”

Our house is now in sight, and Audrey and Max race for the door. This day, two young legs defeat four old ones. Her giggles cut through the crisp air, followed quickly by the sound of the door slamming behind her.

One year. Five years. Ten years. Time flies, but the horror of that day will never fade.

Naturally, some of the above is fictional and all of it was written in advance

Comments are closed

September 10, 2003

Birthday wrapup
Saturday night Mom had us over for an informal birthday celebration, since we were at DMB on my real birthday. Pizza and cake — it was great! I did extremely well too. From Mom I got a cake pan that I wanted, the Martha Stewart cookbook from my wish list, and a NEW Christmas Martha Stewart Cookbook. (CookieCam 2003…launching after Thanksgiving!) She also gave me a Mr. Toad pin from Disneyland — I was so touched by that. Toad’s my favorite ride! John gave me a cute lil’ stuffed squirrel and John Mayer’s “Room for Squares” CD. That’s a very good listen, as long as I ignore the fact that John Mayer is only 23 years old. He looks like a baby on the CD cover. Makes me feel all “Mrs. Robinson” all of a sudden.

And Brian and Marilyn surprised us by coming into town on Sunday afternoon. I finally got to meet Marilyn for the first time — Brian has made a wonderful match. She’s delightful, and even tolerated the antics of a high-on-life Max. They’re getting married on an island. :)

YESTERDAY WE WENT BACK TO THE GYM! Yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy! I did 20 minutes on the stationary cycle, and some pullups. And after months of not going to the gym, that lil’ workout wore me out. Had a very good healthful eating day too. Even cooked dinner. Sprinkled chicken breasts with onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder. Cooked ’em on the George Foreman. Heated up some small corn tortillas. Combine with some salsa and mexican cheese, and we get what I call “Faux-jitas.” Not as greasy and oozy as the ones you get at restaurants, but satisfying nonetheless.

Mood: Pleasant, despite aches in legs from the gym. Sleepy still. I feel like I need to catch up from when I was sick the last two weeks and didn’t sleep well. Coworker Damon (as opposed to the million other Damons I know) confided yesterday that he reads this so that he knows what kind of Kim he’s coming in to.
Work: Online Mall, weeks worth of recipe updates. Hope to get my database over 800 recipes strong today.
Lunch: Smart Ones Lasagna bake
Afternoon: Take Max for walk. Update LGN.
Evening: Yoga at 7:30. First class in over 3 weeks. Then to bed early. :) Going to be an Asheron’s Call-free day.

Comments are closed

September 9, 2003 – morning

Mood: Happy, sleepy
Work: Sports repairs, did Static, will do hand section and dateline section, plus more..
Lunch: Smart Ones Salisbury Steak
Afternoon:Small snooze…stayed up too late and am feeling it
Evening: Gym at 6pm-ish. Will take Muireann on Gaerlan quest if I can stay up.

More later..

Comments are closed

September 8, 2003

So much to say!
Most importantly, I feel better! Yay! After 2+ weeks of aches, pains, and coughing I finally feel myself again. Yesterday morning I woke up rested and able to breathe deeply w/o coughing. I guess we have to be sick from time to time to appreciate how good it feels to be healthy.

Written last night
Birthday wrapup
David surprised me with a Nintendo Game Cube and the new Zelda game on Friday. That was sweet, since I didn’t ask for anything and didn’t expect anything (given I just had taken a trip to Cali w/o him and all). Online and Marketing gave me a chocolate cake (mmmmm!) and a card. I know they like me because the card was lacking the snide remarks that everyone else gets in their card. So that was good. Thanks to Damon for organizing it. Came home and tried to snooze before the Dave Matthews Band concert.

We got to the Tweeter early so that we could eat and stake out a nice spot on the lawn. We brought a large beach towel. I was wearing shorts and a tee, but as soon as we passed through the gates, a mighty gust of wind reminded me that 1) I was going to be right by the river and 2) it gets colder when the sun sets. Bought a long-sleeved concert t-shirt (DMB puts out the fugliest tour merchandise) and was much better. Grabbed a spot with our backs against the back wall of the Tweeter, so we could have something to lean against. During the opening act, (North Mississippi Allstars) we watched a couple have a nice verbal fight not too far in front of us. Hand gestures and all. Methinks the lady wasn’t happy with sitting on the grass. Just a hunch. DMB hit the stage late, but the show was wonderful. They played 3 of the 4 songs I wanted to hear: Crash, Two Step and What Would You Say. (No Crush…I found out they performed that one on the 6th. S’ok. That song does things to me anyway – best to listen in private). I knew every song, too! Here’s the entire setlist from the show. By “Two Step” I was getting pretty chilled, so we beat it before the encores. Proves how old I am, hm?

The crowd was…um…interesting. You can divide them up into two groups, the college-age kids who are old enough to get beer (or to have friends to get beer for them) but still young enough that the girls scream when they see their girlfriends. “Oh mY GAWWWWWWWWWWD!” They think they are incredibly cool because they smoke weed, man. Then you have the ones in their 30s, who were in college when DMB hit mainstream. We’re happy because we don’t get out much and appreciate concerts when we have a chance to see them.

As soon as DMB hits the stage, everyone who has weed lights up. A few songs in, a guy comes to the wall about 10 or so feet away from us and relieves himself on the wall. Gross. No more than 5 minutes later, (during One Sweet World) a couple plops down IN THE SAME SPOT and begins to have sex. We are repulsed, but fascinated. “Doesn’t he feel the wet spot?” David muses. Onlookers give the guy the thumbs up, and he flashes one back, along with a “Yeah, I’m gettin some!” smile. DMB becomes mere background music now as we watch the freak show around us. The couple finishes with a flourish, and an onlooker cheers. Onlooker turns to walk away, and he’s Event Security! Which bodes the question, what do you have to do to get kicked out of the Tweeter Center? All night, Number 7 (the number on the wall) attracted those who had to pee, and couples who had to … “Crash” into each other. I guess if you want it bad enough, you don’t mind sitting in urine.

Staff gave out condoms to us as we left. David: “You should have given these out on the way in!” All in all, a great show.

Afterwards, I logged into the game to find about 2 dozen people ready to help me on the Aerlinthe quest. With great organization by our monarch, Icedancer, we completed the quest, and I got the kill. I was so happy I cried. For reasons I will detail in another post.

Back to this morning!
More bday and weekend news later.

Mood: Happy
Diet?: Restarting today, thankyouvery much. Am armed with good foods and strong will.
Work docket: Ingle, Faith, fix up living section and sports cutline.
Lunch: Smart Ones Peppercorn Beef
Afternoon: Work on continuing socialization of Max, laundry.
Evening: May hit the sack early tonight.

Comments are closed