Re: 9/11: What Do You Remember?
I on vacation for my job at the time at United Airlines, at a hotel in Flagstaff, getting ready to drive down to Phoenix and catch a plane home. I had just watched a documentary on HBO about Ali and Frazier and, switching channels, caught the folks on Good Morning America (which I never watched) talking about what they said was a small plane hitting the World Trade Center. I watched them talking and saw the second plane hit live. It was surreal.
My first thought was that there had been a nuclear explosion that caused the planes to crash. This was silly, but I was trying to rationalize what I had seen. Then it became obvious that something was going on.
We actually began the drive to Phoenix thinking our plane would leave. Denial, I guess. Difficulty coping with reality. When we realized it wouldn't, we tried to keep the car, but they wouldn't let us. We did manage to get a hotel near Sky Harbor.
Meanwhile, relatives at home were panicking. For some reason, it took people a while to reach us, and they didn't know if we were in the air yet.
Two days later we found an available rental car and drove cross country. I could have waited and got a free ticket home, but I couldn't handle flying then (I would fly again just over a year later). Budget charged us $666 for the one-way rental from Phoenix to Charleston, WV.
The whole experience was dream-like, being stranded in a strange city, travelling on the mostly empty roads, with everyone talking about the same thing, everyone wondering, trying to find the right words.
And considering my job, getting back to work was hardly a return to normalcy. Many of us wondered whether we had helped people book one of those two flights. Not a realistic thought perhaps, but there was something that made us all feel as if we'd been targeted specifically, since we worked for United Airlines.
A strange time.
Edge trilogy, by me.
Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down. --Ray Bradbury
What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin. --Straka