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Monday, September 11, 2006

"Some people pray. I don't and this is one of those times I wish I did."

Rapid Eye Reality, September 11, 2001


I sat at a traffic light today. I had to sit through it as it changed three times. One person in all the cars that passed was smiling. And I think he was only doing it to make his girlfriend smile. She wasn't.

And no one feels safe. Today I drove up into the northern part of the state. A huge nuclear generator sits up in the foothills, surrounded by a pretty lake with a pretty name...Keowee. About 48 hours ago, three unmarked choppers started hovering low over the reactors. The local cops had know idea who was at the controls. The state cops had no idea. And as it turns out, some of the feds didn't either. Two F-16s from a still-unnamed Air Force base scrambled and flew here. It took everybody about five and half hours to realize that the choppers were unmarked American military helicopters on a Top Secret training misson.

We all just grew up. I'm mad at myself because nothing excites me anymore. I'm not excited about watching football this weekend. I skipped a Donna the Buffalo concert last night (if you don't know the band, look it up). I don't want to hang out with my friends. I don't want to turn on the TV. And...I don't want to go to work.

Rapid Eye Reality, September 17, 2001


Image posted at RER in September 2002


Two years ago this morning it was the phone that woke me up. My mother: "Are you watching this?" I wasn't. I had overslept. Minutes later, I was in my car, unshaven, unshowered, and on my way to tell disembarking passengers at my local airport that their country was under attack. Watching their faces as I delivered the news firsthand is an experience that put a permanent hole in my psyche.

This morning, I didn't turn on the TV. I wobbled to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and kissed my wife as I entered the shower. The cheap radio was in between frequencies and full of static. I fumbled with the wet buttons, trying to find a news program. Instead, I found a morning comedy team. I left it there and let Peter Frampton joke with the boys of the radio. Just like last year, America was calm. Planes were taking off and landing, people were being good worker bees, and the morning radio jocks weren't being pre-empted by network coverage of hell under the red, white, and blue.

On the way to work, I passed by the news radio stations again. Remembrance, but no news. Peter Frampton was still joking. In my morning news meeting, there was an understanding: Our station would recognize what day it was, but we would not forget the other news of the day. Two hours later, about the time two years ago I was telling a group of confused passengers from the northeast that they wouldn't be going home that day, I was standing at a different airport, preparing a report on a neat new runway improvement.

And then, lunch. Sub sandwich, baked chips, diet soda.

This, for better or worse, is normal.

I wonder as I sit in the middle of a conspicuously normal day, how September 11th will be recognized 50 years from now. Will it be a December 7th? Will it be a July 4th? Or will it be just another day, perhaps recognized on morning news programs during a "This Day In History" segment.

We have, indeed, moved on. But the feeling--at least inside my head--is still there. Otherwise, I wouldn't have woken up this morning until I heard my wife's sweet voice call from the shower.

RER, September 11, 2003


For some reason, I didn't write anything for the past two years.

It's about 80 degrees outside my office window right now. The branches of a Bradford Pear shade the room. The guy who was mowing his lawn has stopped and the smell of a pre-autumn grass clipping is still sneaking through the window screen.

I haven't turned on a TV today. I haven't listened to the radio. In fact, I've listened to nothing but the ambient sounds of the suburbs all morning long.

I can't help but wonder how long it was before people woke up on the anniversary of Kennedy's or King's death and thought about how it might have changed the world. This is now five years since the event that will define this part of America. I still thought about it when I woke up.


Blogger peacecorn said...

I have this odd habit of searching the archives of every new blog I read to see if they posted anything on Sept. 11th, 2001.

On that day, we were all stripped raw and unselfconscious. To me, those entries are as telling as any "About Me" page someone might have posted.

3:37 PM  

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