I remember it was a Tuesday. I had been up late the night before hacking on some code for work. Or something. That part of my recollection wasn't terribly good. Anyway I had slept in. I remember getting woken up by a very somber beepbeep. Which was unusual in that (A) she is usually the one who wakes up later than I, and (B) her mood isn't usually quite so somber as it was that day. She said something about the World Trade Center building being on fire.
I remember turning on the TV and seeing the North Towers with smoke pouring out of it, and people jumping to their doom. More than once that day I wondered to myself whether (A) I was still dreaming, and having a nightmare; or (B) I was watching some sort of doomsday movie. Sadly, every time I attempted to pinch myself awake, I discovered that everything I was seeing was real.
And then, I watched with numb shock as a plane plowed into South Tower.
I didn't go to work that day. I just couldn't. I remember hanging around the house in absolute numb shock, watching the reports come in of the people jumping to their doom, the towers collapsing, the evacuation efforts, and the two other crashes at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania.
And in the days that followed, I watched incredulously at the response (or, more accurately, lack of response) of our glorious leaders. And when they finally decided to respond, and attack Iraq, I was absolutely outraged. I remember yelling at the TV something to the effect of "The terrorists are in Afghanistan, you moron!"
And I also remember when, just three days after 9/11, we received an eviction notice from our landlord. Apparently his investments didn't do so well in the wake of the tragedy, and he decided to kick out all of his long-term tenants so that he could rent the apartments at much higher rates. I shit you not.
I also remember the awkward moments in the months that followed whenever some reference to airplanes crashing came up in life. Like, one evening we were watching the Sandra Bullock movie "The Net" with friends, when the scene where Sandra Bullock's friend was trying to warn her about the virus infection, and he hopped in his plane to go visit her, and the bad guys hacked into his GPS causing him to go off course and crash into an oil refinery. Or the scene in the Robert Redford movie "Sneakers" when they discover the true nature of the device they were hired to steal, that it could be used to effortlessly hack into any computer system on the planet. They all gathered around the screen trying to access different (supposedly) unhackable systems, and they were able to get in effortlessly. When they hacked into the FAA's Air Traffic Control net, and one of the characters turned to someone else and said "Want to bring down some planes?", there was an awkward silence in the room. Of course both of these movies were made before 9/11. I'm sure that quite a few movies and TV shows that were already in production at the time of the disaster were Bowdlerized as a result of it.
I also can't help but think of how this affected the way millions of people travel every day. I have been fortunate in that I haven't taken very many trips by air since then. But the few times I did fly, I remember what a royal pain in the ass it was. How this ridiculous "security theater" accomplished nothing except make it seem that people actually gave a crap and were trying to do something about it. How everyone is now treated like a criminal in a country where we are supposedly innocent until proven guilty. When I read stories of the TSA going overboard, with full body scanners, feeling peoples' junk, and worst of all, feeling up little kids, I am filled with revulsion and disgust, and rage. And when I think of the things the government has been able to get away with, with things like the PATRIOT act that allows basically widespread spying without the need of a warrant, and I read of laptops being seized at borders, hard drives and iPods being scanned, and so forth, I am blinded with rage.
But most of all I am filled with a deep and heartbreaking sadness at the loss of life. Children who are never able to see their parents again. Siblings who are forever separated. Husbands who will never again feel the loving embrace of their wives (and vice versa).
I've never been to New York. Always wanted to go. And I have always wanted to visit the World Trade Center when I did manage to make it over there. Now I can't do that anymore. However, I do intend to visit the site itself -- Ground Zero -- to pay my respects. It's the least I could do.
Current Mood: depressed