Monday, September 12, 2011

On that day 10 years ago

On that day 10 years ago I attended college in Oregon.  I remember waking up energized and determined to  be really productive.  The sky was, unusual for Oregon, blue as a delicate baby's iris.

In line for hash browns at the cafeteria, I smiled at the girl behind the counter, "how are you?"  The beautiful brown haired girl who always served me hash browns with a glowing and genuine smile looked pale and stoic, "I'm tripping.....  There was a bomb in NY and DC this morning."

My mind's eye flashed an image of a mushroom cloud annihilating the region I grew up, all my family and friends decimated.

"What happened?  A Bomb?  What Kind?!  I'm from DC, my family lives there!"  I was instantly shaking, and also totally holding up the breakfast line.

The beautiful girl behind the counter looked blank-faced and horrified.  "That's what they're saying on the news.  I don't know."
I looked to the person next to me in line, an older woman, probably an administrator of some kind. She thought she was dumb and dismissed the girl, "She doesn't know what she's talking about.  Don't worry"
I know that girl was probably a towny, but I trusted her, she always had such a beautiful smile shining with non-judgmental insight and love.  If she was a towny she held aspirations and dreams above the usual methheads living nearby the college.  I believed her that she heard a bomb blew up DC.

I just left my tray there in the line and ran out of the cafeteria 

Freaking out, but surrounded by otherwise complete normalcy, I didn't know what to do, and didn't want to waste time going all the way back to my dorm.  Luckily when I ran out of the cafeteria I saw my friend Nick.  Nick from Alaska.  Nick with a long distance girlfriend in California.  Nick who probably had a calling card.
I ran up to him and sputtered through some nonsense about what I heard.  "Nick I heard a bomb went off in DC, I need to call my family and see if they are ok.  Do you have a calling card?"
Such a good guy, his girlfriend, Jessica, was a supreme feminist and so he's not the type to consider a girl hysterical, dispel what she's saying or try to calm her down.  He instantly got concerned and responded quick to action, "Yeah sure no problem."
We ran back in the cafeteria to call on the payphone.

I could barely manage to dial strait.  Cell phones to my parents were down, which just freaked me out more.  But my grandfather answered the house phone.  He suffered from dementia and had no idea of anything wrong outside.  But at least that meant the house still stood.

I thanked Nick and started running back to my dorm room.  Stopping by work to say I'd be late for some reason I don't remember but they understood.

I sent an email to my dad, grabbed my cell phone and returned to work for my shift.  I don't know why I felt I needed to work that day.  I guess I was still stuck in the autodrive mindset that people were depending on me to be there.  I was cook at a coffee shop and supposed to make bagel sandwiches, but the shipment of veggies for the sandwiches never came on that morning.  I plugged my cell phone into the wall in the kitchen and spent the entire two hour shift trying to make contact with people in DC.  I got through to my ex-boyfriend and another friend in the area.  The details were becoming more clear that it was an airplane hitting the pentagon.  But I was still worried, my dad worked in the pentagon most days, usually in the afternoons, not the mornings, but what if he had been there this morning?

My parents finally thought to call and email around one in the afternoon.  It turned out that my dad was not in the Pentagon that morning, but his offices were in the wing where the plane collided.  Two of his coworkers were killed and some others were injured.
The cafeteria girl never came back to work after that day.
Verizon never charged me for the hours exceeding my cell phone minutes plan.

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