Monday, September 12, 2011

My 9-11 story, part 1

Amy of Discovery News made the following invitation on YouTube last week.

This week we've shared some of our personal 9/11 stories with you. Feel free to share yours with us.
Between this invitation and this month's Nablopomo "Return" theme, I think it's the perfect opportunity to share my recollections of that Tuesday ten years ago, something I don't believe I've ever either written down before.

September 11, 2001, started off as a very uneventful day. I woke up a little after 8:00 AM. Since I couldn't get back to sleep right away, I booted up the computer in my bedroom, dialed up my modem (wow, do I feel old writing that, even though I only quit dial-up five years ago), and logged into my home base on the web, the Fourth Turning Forums. This is where I first met andelku, whose series on contemplating The Hedgehog I promised to review, but that's a subject for another post. That morning, when I read through the forums, there were very few posts and I was done between 8:30 and 8:45. I thought, another boring day, shut off the computer, and went back to bed. Little did I know.

The next thing I remember, the phone was ringing. It was Jeanne Lynne, one of the paraprofessionals at the college, telling me that the World Trade Center had been attacked and that the college's board of trustees were meeting to determine whether to close the college. I had no idea, as I had been asleep the entire time. It turned out that I had just missed the attack. In fact, when Jeanne told me that the World Trade Center had been attacked, I remembered the 1993 attack and said, what, another car bomb. Oh, no, worse, she responded without elaborating. She then told me that the decision would be made in an hour (this was about noon) and to wait for a phone call from her then.

I booted up my computer, went online, and looked at the news on my home page. It was worse than I imagined. The top story showed a photograph of the Twin Towers with the first one already collapsed and the second one on fire. I could not comprehend what kind of terrorist attack would be able to do that. I didn't have time to read more, as I had to keep the line open for the call I was expecting, so I logged off and went offline.

I'm not exactly sure what I did between going offline and getting the call. I suppose I listened to NPR, as I didn't have television reception out in the Irish Hills, and hadn't yet subscribed to cable. I eventually did watch television, but I'll save that for part 2.

Right on schedule, Jeanne Lynne called again to tell me that the college was closed for the rest of the day. Since I had a class scheduled for 6 PM that night, that meant I now had the day off. Back online I went.

I surfed over to the Fourth Turning Forums. The site, which had been so quiet that morning, was on fire. Every single active poster was online posting up a storm. I had never seen the site so busy before, not even during the 2000 elections, which really kept the forums hopping until after the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore. Not only that, but new members were registering in record numbers. As for the activity on the site, it was a combination of news sharing and support group. On the one hand, the members of the site were reading the site in preparation for an event like this (Remember what I wrote about andelku being there? That she's blogging about The Hedgehog, what she calls the crisis, is not a coincidence), on the other hand, they didn't expect it to arrive like this and this soon. In fact, it was too soon--but that's a subject for another post.

Eventually, I got sick of being in my home with only my virtual friends to keep me company. I decided to get out. That's a story for part 2.

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