QotD: Reflecting on September 11th


What are your personal memories of September 11th?

It's four in the morning, and I'm woken by the sound of someone outside, going through the trash bins in the neighborhood. Tuesday morning, a good four hours until I need to wake up and all I can think about is how annoyed I am at the sure to be homeless person who is rummaging through my recyclables, pulling out the ones with the California deposit.

This annoys me, and I call the police. The non-emergency line has a pleasant voice. I give my details, my address, what I'm hearing, yes, they will send a car out to talk to the person, do I know which direction he's heading?

I stumble back to bed.

Four hours later, the alarm goes off. Jumbled words blare from the speaker. Unintelligible words. Without thinking, without worry, Kris reaches over and smacks the snooze button. Nothing registers for him. I hear a few words.

Four minutes later, the second alarm goes off. It is silenced just as quickly as the first.

Five minutes later, the snooze ends and the first alarm and Kris reflexively reaches to end the noise again.

"Wait," I ask. "See what's going on. That's not normal talk."

He rolls over and looks at me. What wasn't normal about the alarm, his eyes question, but he rolls out of bed anyway, and stumbles to the livingroom to turn on CNN. We have cable because he needs his ESPN. We have a television because he needs his baseball. I wanted neither, but he prevailed on that topic.

Kris returns five minutes later.

"You need to get up. New York is on fire."

I ask him what he means, as I struggle to wake fully. What is on fire? What happened? What's going on?

He doesn't know. It's bad. It's in New York. I need to wake up now.

I wake up.

At the end of the day, I wonder what the homeless person with my cans and bottles is doing. Did he know the enormity of the day? How could I have been so small, calling the police on a person doing what he needed to survive? What a petty act of mine, having the police talk to someone for taking cans, when five thousand people died so horrifically.

The images of the jumpers.

The homeless person stealing cans and bottles.

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