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Recalling 9-1-1

I’ve never seen it. I’ve seen the still photos. But I’ve never actually seen it. But I remember it like yesterday. I had flown in from Seattle the night before. Arrived around 11. I was anxious to not get out of bed for work. The alarm went off. Set to KROQ (don’t judge). But it wasn’t Kevin and Bean and it wasn’t music. It was Ralph. And he was just talking. Ralph was never on the air by himself just talking. My phone rang. Who the fuck is calling me this early? I let it go to voicemail. It was a Athena. She knew I was flying in from Seattle but wasn’t sure whether it was last night or this morning. “Something’s happening,” she said. Something’s happening

I didn’t have a TV. So I waited and listened. The news was odd. Surreal. Chilling. We’re under attack. There are planes crashing into building in New York. Is there one headed for LA? My mom called. “You’re home right?” Yes. “This is unbelievable.” I’ll say.

But I got dressed and went to work. What was I supposed to do? Did anyone know? I didn’t think about the fact that I was working in a high-rise in mid city. Those weren’t the sorts of thoughts that occurred to me at the time. Traffic was light. Things were eerie.

When I got in, everyone was huddled around the TV in the media room. Disbelief. The towers had collapsed. While I showered and dressed and drove to work, life in the United States had inextricably changed. Forever. We didn’t know what to do. Someone said to me, “You live by the airport. Are you sure you want to go home?” I had no response to that. But we left. To go home. To do…I don’t know what.

Deniz called late in the afternoon. She was terrified. Panicked. She hadn’t been able to get a hold of her mom. She was in Turkey still. She was hearing reports about attacks at LAX. At the Hollywood sign. “America is under attack,” she said matter-of-factly. I need to come home. But this wasn’t possible. She knew this. She just needed to say it out loud.

We’re helpless. In the end we’re all helpless. And so there’s this thing. And we all know about it. But we’re still helpless to control it. To fix it. To heal it. To make sense of it. Something’s happening…

And so today we mourn. We mourn the lives that were lost. Ourselves included.


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