Ten years go today, I awoke at 5:48am, deeply anxious, a heaviness in my chest. I shut my eyes and faded out of consciousness for a few moments before my clock radio alarm went off at 6:00am. Voices, shouting. I stared at the clock. 6:03am. I popped the plugs out of my ears.
The story unraveled in the hysterics.
I got out of bed, blinking, and stumbled into the shower. I stood under the hot water. My hair fell out in clumps, swirling in the rush to the drain.
I dried off and booted up the computer. Horrors sprung up on the Yahoo homepage. I watched a news reel. Tadd was on IM. A box appeared with his ID. “Can you believe this shit?!?” he typed.
The traffic to PeopleLink in Santa Monica was thick. Yet when I arrived at work, no one was working. We stood around talking. “They finally got back at us,” one person observed in a hushed tone, clearly aware that this concept might upset some folk.
“For what?” I asked.
She indicated that our involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest had been less than savory. I felt sick to my stomach. I knew we weren’t “the good guys,” but did we deserve this? Did those innocent people deserve this?
In some people’s eyes, yes.
Work sent us home early. When I went outside, I discovered that I’d gotten a parking ticket for not moving my car soon enough. I called the parking cops and said, “Could you please have better things to do than give you tickets on a day of national disaster?”
They threw out the ticket.
The only leader who said anything all day that sounded brave and encouraging was Tony Blair, who gave a stirring speech from Downing Street. Our new president hid for a while. When he finally emerged, he sounded far less encouraging. I wanted to throw a brick at the computer screen.
Republicans joked online. “So, do you want to be president NOW, Al Gore?”
To which I replied: FUCK YOU.
I later myself made a tasteless joke about the Pentagon now being the Quadragon. Sorry about that. It was either that or throw up from depression.
But that’s how it went down. And it went down even further from there, George Bush driving us into the ground with useless wars, rampant greed and debt. I just hope that 10 years from today, we’ll be in a much better place.