The morning of September 11th, 2001, I was snuggled down under a fluffy comforter in a cozy little nest of pillows with two cats sound asleep on my feet when the alarm went off. I remember thinking "yikes, a plane crashing into a building? What are the odds of that happening?" as I reached out to punch the snooze button and pull the pillow back over my head. 9 minutes later the alarm went off again and the phone started ringing. It was Josh on the phone, asking me if I was seeing what was going on; telling me not to worry, if his flight home was delayed, he didn't think it'd be too much later than we had originally planned. After all, what was the likelihood that a tragedy on the East Coast would effect the tiny little barely-international airport at Tucson? A few hours later, airspace restricted to the birds, he called me again to say that he had already rented a car and that he and his coworkers would be hitting the road for the 15-hour trip home shortly.
I was student teaching (read: paying for the privilege of teaching)at the time in a nearby second grade classroom. My mentor teacher took the lead in having a student led sit-down in our room. My instructions were along the lines of:
Let the kids ask what they want. Answer only what they ask. Don't read into their questions, don't embellish or assume that you know what the next question is going to be.At this point, information was still so sketchy as to how and who and why and where next that all we could do was reassure them that we were in as safe a place as we could be.
I was as glued to the media as anyone else during the subsequent days/weeks. But let's face it. A delayed dinner out, two more days of being the sole provider for the cats, and a couple of overly anxious 8-year-olds was the sum of the actual impact of the nation's tragedy on me. Josh had a college friend who we were pretty sure was in the greater NYC area at the time (turns out he was. And he was impacted. His later-to-be wife was impacted. Friends that we made post 9-11 during our short time on the East Coast were impacted.), but that was the closest physical link we had. The emotional impact, of course, was harder to quantify.
Almost immediately, though, the local media started running stories about "legitimate" targets right here in our area that COULD. BE. NEXT.
The Golden Gate Bridge.
(Okay, okay, it's a well known landmark, iconographic in it's tourist draw. Holds bunches of cars during rush-hour.)
Travis Air Force Base.
(Again, possible as it's home to the largest wing in the Air Force's Air Mobility Command calls Travis home.)
One of the several oil refineries in the area.
(Oil + high temperature + high pressure + all that other stuffed used to make gasoline = Great Big Boom!)
The state capital building.
Hang on a minute.
A legitimate target for al-Qaeda?
The Governator wasn't even in office. And although Gray Davis was well on his way to going down in history as the second American governor to be recalled, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that he probably wasn't on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to-do list.
And that's approximately when we started our own private little scoff at the world: When ever it appears that someone
Swine flu fits nicely into that category.
Or, at least, it did until about 9pm Sunday when m'boy started his sporadic barfing spree. I would be lying if I said I didn't spend the next seven hours checking him repeatedly for fever, chills, and cough. And blaspheming all manners of domesticated even-toed ungulates. Stupid bacon. I'm only posting this now because I spent the better part of last night alternating between the floor and the toilet and I KNOW I haven't been pig kissing.
Send tea and crackers. I had forgotten how much energy it takes to defy gravity with last night's dinner.