Sunday, September 11, 2011

On memory.

I know that I'm an adult now for many reasons. David and I have managed to get married, rent our house, obtain visas, manage bank accounts, and make an international move, all in the past six weeks. It's not something that a seventeen-year-old could manage, so I'm guessing we've aged a bit.

I'm now old enough to remember something that happened twenty years ago with decent memory -- the release of Nirvana's "Nevermind" -- yes, TWENTY years ago, folks! I also remember ten years ago with exceptional memory, though I suspect that even a ten-year-old would remember September 11.

I don't have much to say on the subject, but I don't want to sound flippant either. My first memory of that morning is being on the train between terminals at Newark airport, bleary-eyed after having gotten up at 5am to catch a flight to NYC from Louisville, when my dad said, "Look, I think the World Trade Center is on fire or something." I turned around and looked at the skyline -- a place that a few weeks prior had been my home -- and said, "Yeah, that's weird."

We were supposed to leave Louisville the night of September 10 and connect in Newark for a flight to London. Our flight that Monday night was canceled because the airport had a small fire, which nobody remembers now, of course.

Clearly, we did not make our connection on Tuesday, September 11, either, but we sat at Gate 1, directly across the bay from Battery Park, and watched both towers fall, while the TVs gave us news of Fashion Week. Nobody knew what was going on, as no one's cell phones worked, and airports do NOT tune in their TVs to plane crash reports. Then the alarm went off and we were all instructed to leave immediately, despite there being no cars, no baggage claim, and no hotels.

Outside, as my parents and I walked on Highway 1 until we were picked up by a crowded Holiday Inn shuttle, there were military jets in the sky and the plume of smoke we would see for days after was beginning to form. It was beyond bizarre. And so, so sad. We hitchhiked to some hooker hotel and caught the first Amtrak train out of town the next morning, ending up in Baltimore for a few days, followed by a 2-day Greyhound trip home.

No complaints, though. Our canceled European vacation wasn't exactly world-ending for us. I do know that I never want to see a Greyhound bus again as long as I live.

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