Friday, September 11, 2009

Looking Back

September 11th 2001:

Lexi wasn't even 8mths old yet. I was a part time working woman, full time college student and trying to be the best mom I could be. It was a day I didn't have classes but I had to work. John was in class that day. I believe he dropped Lexi off at his grandparents while we both went about our business.

I was working at Video Connection at the time. I loved working there (for the most part). We were able to rent movies for free, and even take them home before they were released as long as they were back in time to put on the shelves. Sunday papers were a plenty so come Monday morning (or closing time Sunday) we could take one home with us saving that buck fifty. Being college students and parents we needed to save where we could.

I opened the store at 9am with no knowledge of what was happening just two states away. Customers came in to pick up the latest movies and while I went nonchalantly about my business one customer asked if I knew what was going on. I didn't so he said to turn on the tv. I shut off the promo video and changed to a local channel to see what was happening.

I do not recall how I felt. Scared, I think. Wondering if something like that would happen where we were. I remembering seeing the traffic outside and thinking it wasn't much different than any other morning but thinking back I sense there was panic among those out there that knew.

I kept the news on as long as I can as they kept reshowing the images of the planes hitting the towers. I remember them saying that they weren't sure at first what they were and then astounded as they realized they were large passenger planes. I cannot even begin to imagine what the people in the airports and near NYC were feeling that day. It hurts those of us that saw it on television a tremendous amount... the fear being that close probably would have swallowed me alive.

Customers kept coming in... steadily. My mind couldn't focus as I was constantly looking up at the tv. Several customers asked what movie I was playing because sometimes we would throw in a movie to keep from going insane from the dumb promotional video we were supposed to be showing. Sadly, it was not a movie. It was hard telling them that. Some people were taken aback... some said nothing while others didn't really believe me. They were just going about their day as they always had and then to find out this tragedy had occurred. I wonder what was going through their heads at that moment. Did they have family or friends in NYC, on one of the planes? Were they in denial, thinking this couldn't possibly be happening? Were they wanting to run out and grab their kids from school or run to their spouse or parents? Or were they callous and not caring?

John finally showed up after classes were cancelled at the University of Toledo. He read a magazine while I tended to customers. Then all hell almost broke loose. A "higher up" walked in. He wasn't a manager or even a district manager but he was close enough... and he was an ass. Didn't matter the day or what had happened. I think he would have went to work instead of his own grandma's funeral if given the choice. He was just a plain jerk. Not that I wasn't in the wrong for having John behind the counter with me (he wasn't near the cash register, just leaning on the counter reading his magazine) but to tell me to turn off the news, was just heartless. Maybe he didn't know what was happening... he had asked why the promo movie wasn't on, I told him because I turned the news on to see what was going on... but I prefer to think he just didn't care. Now I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, but I'd have bet everything I had that he knew and was just being his usual self.

I put the promo video on for awhile until I knew he was gone and not coming back, then I turned the news back on. He could get me fired but I didn't care... it would eventually come down to me quitting anyway. I never was much for sticking around a job very long. Must be my undiagnosed ADD ;)

I don't remember anything else from that day but those few hours that morning. I don't remember leaving work... I don't remember picking Lexi up... I don't remember where we went or who we saw or what we watched. I just remember where I was when the world seemed to be crumbling.

Following the September 11th attacks, Hollywood released several movies. Some felt it was tacky making money off something like this but there are plenty of historical movies out there and no one is complaining about those... probably because they didn't live through them. Who didn't like Titanic, or Pearl Harbor?! I personally wanted to see any movie related to 9/11 that I could. Not that I am a sick and twisted person... it was just a way to feel more apart of what happened than what I witnessed on the news. We got to go inside the plane that passengers were able to take down in a field in United 93... and we got to see what rescue personnel and families personally afflicted by this tragedy were going through in World Trade Center. It makes your heart cry and smile all at the same time. Happy tears, sad tears, you ache from joy and ache from sorrow. A whirlwind of emotions and you feel more connected than ever before.

I remember when I was watching United 93 and being on the edge of my seat. Such suspense and drama that you almost forget it really happened. Hoping with every bone in your body that they somehow make it out alive. Kind of like watching Titanic and thinking, "Turn harder, you can miss it! Come on! You can do it this time!" but you know they won't miss it. You know what happens yet you pull for the happy ending every time.

I couldn't get John to watch World Trade Center with me when I had it from Netflix. He just doesn't feel the same as me. I guess I can understand. Not everyone feels the same way about what happened that day and what would happen in the coming years. I mean, here we are today... September 11th 2009 and we are STILL in Iraq. Now, I don't care if we went there under misguided notions or whatever. The fact of the matter is, we are there. My husband, your husband, your brother, your son, your friends or even YOU have had to go to the Middle East because of what happened 8 years ago today. Had that not happened we would not be there. So for some of you, many of you, watching the events unfold is not something you care to do. Maybe I have some deep seated issues for wanting to watch these movies... I don't deny I am a bit "loco en la cabeza" but still, those are the movies I like to watch. I like to hope for a happy ending even though I know it won't happen... that's life, huh?

So, today I sit here thinking about what happened 8 years ago. Never forgetting that freedom is NEVER free.

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