Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Memories and Deja Vu

This year I haven't thought that much about 9/11. To be completely honest, I found myself unable to conjure up anything authentic. What runs through my mind is memorial niceties and historical platitudes: we will never forget, I will always remember, etc.

I flew back to Miami this morning to visit my parents. The flight from LaGuardia was mostly empty and the Ft. Lauderdale airport was quiet. I wondered if the tranquil atmosphere was due to it being a lazy Tuesday or if it was a superstition about air travel on this day. But I quickly pushed that thought out of my mind as I moved through the desolate terminal and baggage claim.

A few hours after settling in, having lunch, I stood by the kitchen bar trying to collect my thoughts. My mom asked me, "do you remember where you were on that day?" I didn't roll my eyes or numbly recite a laundry list. I suddenly became aware: 11 yrs ago on this day I was in almost the exact same spot, doing the exact same thing.

I was in between undergrad and grad school in 2001. I had moved back home to save money and was working two jobs as a managing editor for a business magazine and a documentary filmmaker. On Tuesday, I had finished working out at the gym and jogging. I was putting on my socks and trying to call into New York City to set up an interview and all the phone lines were busy. I found this highly unusual and that had never happened before and has never happened since that fateful day. Unable to do any reporting work, I stood by the kitchen bar collecting my thoughts. Both my parents were at work and I debated going into the magazine office or continuing to find a way to make phone calls. I decided against that and -instead- I turned on the TV to see if there was some news to explain the busy phone signals in New York. I didn't know that a lot of the cell phone signals were bounced off the WTC antennae.

Eleven years later I scratched my head by the same kitchen bar in a completely different world. I'm visiting my parents now and in my 30s. In 2001 my Dad was well enough to work, walk, and drive.  Today he's bed-bound from a decade of strokes and health complications. My mom and him were making plans to travel after retirement.

In 2001 I was bored with my work, but young and full of ideas to 'break out.' I was tossing the idea in my head of what it would take to become a creative writer: perhaps movies, maybe plays. I had connected with someone working at an Army magazine about jobs. There was a vague buzz when I thought about New York City. Now I've been living in the Big Apple on and off for the last 9 years.

When I speak with my New York friends, many of them are worried these days. Not about terrorist attacks but about something much bigger that's about to happen. More than a few people have moved out of New York. A few spiritual healers have said that a big disaster is about to happen and that the city will be underwater. Perhaps an earthquake that will trigger a flood. Perhaps a storm.  We will see how future 9/11's will make us feel and make us remember.

1 comment:

Mildred said...

Terrific post: honest, insightful.