Friday, September 11, 2009

Where I Was 9/11

It's that anniversary again.

I'll never forget the shame I felt, and still feel, about taking things so for granted.

At the time, we lived in upstate New York. That crystal-clear, beautiful morning, I did not go in to work because we had made an appointment with a bathroom remodeling company. The tv and radio were both off, since I reveled in spending any free morning time practicing recorder and piano. The bath designer was supposed to show up at 11:00, so I whiled away the time and paid a few snail-mail bills, feeling a little lonely because the kids were at school and I was curious about what was happening at work. I missed my team and my work writing and webmastering, and thought about my neighbor across the street, wondering what she was doing.

Eleven o'clock came and went, with no one showing up to look at the bathrooms. By 11:30 or so, with no bathroom people, I became incensed about their cheeky lateness, and by noon I was steaming mad. Not only that, but I had called the remodeling company three or four times to find out what was keeping them, and no one had answered. There was no receptionist. I left messages, but no one called back. This company was the most vaunted remodeler in the region, and I couldn't understand how they could have such a good reputation and not answer the phone during business hours on a work day.

Standing in the silence in the kitchen, it occurred to me that I could call work and just hear how things were going. I reached my team leader, thinking I could ask him a couple of questions. But before I could say anything, he greeted me with a bizarre level of incredulity. "Why are you so calm? Don't you know about it? Don't you know what happened?" He was always a calm and affable guy, and his stridency was quite out of character, and scared me. Then he told me about the towers. After swearing a few oaths, I immediately turned on the tv, hung up the phone, and stopped thinking about the remodelers entirely.

Because of the overwhelming with this event, I never did reschedule the bathroom visit, and never got any bathrooms remodeled. Which is just as well. Because a few months later, our company went through unprecedented massive layoffs, and although I wasn't laid off, I had to leave my job because my DH was let go. We'd have had to move immediately after fixing things up the way we wanted them anyway.

That's what I was doing eight years ago. Relatively speaking, remodeling seems ridiculously trivial. Even though we moved far away and now have a different house that desperately needs updating, I'm still remodeling-averse. It would be disruptive and depressing enough on its own terms, but with the added dimension, the thought is just traumatic. STILL.

Yes, as many of my friends tell me, I have a problem getting on with things. But this one can't be forgotten.


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