Happy 9/11 everybody!
*My SEO post is coming…wrote it waaay too long so I’m currently breaking it up into several posts. Enjoy this post for now*
Since I live in NY, I am always undoubtedly reminded of it. Such as, the time my boss made me run to the post office for stamps. On the 1st year anniversary of 9/11. Inside the gigantic ENOURMOUS post office behind Madison Square Garden. Yes, the really big one that takes up one entire cubic city block.Yes, the one with the long-ass lines where you stand in them for over an hour at least. On a slow day.
Here is a picture of it (thank you Google Maps):
But my boss reeeally needed those stamps (no stamp vending machines put in place there at time) and I prayed on the way over there I could make it in n’ out fast. In fact, I was whispering my prayer under my breath standing in line and this bitch on a cell phone shot me a dirty look and kept yapping.
After that, I swore off large public spaces during 9/11 as a sign of bad luck. And of course, I had to take the subway home- equally unerving. Especially when the damn train got stopped in between stations underground (we were literally under the East River!) so yea, lotta anxiety there. Longest hour of my life. :-X
Fear Alarm Set To…ON
Everyone’s FearAlarm© (I’m coining this term-copyright me, SuperMunk, 2009, All my rights are reserved! Fool!) is set on um, orange, and maybe, high? Watch dis.
You know when I took the Metro rail road to & from jury duty, I noticed a brown paper bag left on a seat across from me that looked full? and the top of the bag curled to closed.
And I though, RUH-ROH! I’m doomed! DOOMED!
Now they always have posters begging you to report this shit, but do they really care? Cuz I saw that ticket-taking metro employee pass by me a couple of times with disregard. The other ticket-taking dude was the same way! So I changed seats to 2 cars away and in my mind, rationalizing that it wouldn’t impact me any potential explosion that could arise from this. Thank God it was only 4 stops to my station!
Now I also avoid all the trains/ federal buildings/ large public spaces/ ports/ piers/ tunnels/ and anything else similar. We have all of these surrounding our great city, so I guess we’re more vulnerable?
It’s creepy to think about.
Soldiers, artillery, dogs, checkpoints
I used to work on Wall St. a few years back and commuted via the Weehawken ferry where every morning at the dock we had to open our bags to the ATF guys (they carry loaded arms- they do not fuck around!) to make sure we weren’t packing bombs or some shit. But everyone was too sleepy at that hour in the morning to give it too much thought, and automatically had their bags open upon entering the ferry. As if by some natural instinct; we’re just programmed now that way.
Just so happened that our line was by far the longest ferry commute on the Hudson River; at about 15 min. long; from pier to pier. If you’re anxious, that’s a long time to be thinking about fear!
I also got used to seeing army dudes in camouflage parading up & down Penn Station, Grand Central, and the other transit depots with the occasional bomb sniffing dogs and military style assault weapons. We’re all used to seeing it that I’d think it’d be weird if those dudes just up & vanished one day. Of course, last time I was at Penn Station, some angry dude was screaming profanities at some couple, getting in their face and threatening to kill them. Nope, cops never around when you need ’em. Lunatics are everywhere in this town. Yikes!
So maybe this tactic isn’t far fetched?
But I am grateful that much protection is around. It serves to calm me a bit.
Strange, the inconveniences the people get used to.
Oh, get off my ass! I meant the inconvenience of living with your fear alarm always turned on.
Always scanning for the nearest exit and well lit street. It’s exhausting!
So used to it.
Yes I am.
I gotta tell ya, I’ve never lived anywhere where you can keep your door unlocked. That is still a prepostorous notion to me: Unsafe and impractical. Well, except for my short stint in North Carolina. It was MINDBLOWING! to be able to go for a nightly stroll without the fear of getting jacked. I have never experienced that sense of tranquility. After a few days, my God! My FearAlarm© dissipated.
And then I moved back up here and boom! Returned with vengeance. Picked up rite where it left off. Unbelievable.
I gotta tell ya, for me it’s not such a big deal anymore. Since I never lived anywhere nice, I’ve always been on alert. In fact, I’ve actually dodged terrorism 5 times! Count ’em, 5!
The First Aversion
Get this, I was just about 2wks old. Yep! My parents brought me on a plane from Central America heading to P.R. And on that plane, she told papi that there were some fishy men, and she was getting bad vibes from them. She made sure to seat us far away from them. When they landed, everyone on that plane was stopped by the FBI and questioned about the men. They told mami they were looking for Shiite? Muslims but did not say why. Mami said they kept her and the other passengers in the dark about details. And that’s the long and short of it- she never heard from them again. This is the tale my mami recounted to me just a few weeks ago, and only because she remembered it after seeing some Madrid bldg. get blown up on tv two weeks ago.
The Second Aversion
My brother and I are just months apart. When we were in jr.high, he worked at the front office during his study hall time. The principal that day had the door slightly ajar and he overheard an angry conversation she put on speaker. The other voices on the phone identified themselves as some Colombian militia group who threatened to blow up the school the following Friday if their demands were not met. My brother didn’t hear the part where they requested anything, as he stepped away from the door to not get caught. Now I don’t know what resolution they came to but, mami called on Friday saying she was taking us to the doctor. We happily stayed home that day, and nobody in school ever came to know that story.
And the school did not blow up. It stayed the same as always.
The Third Aversion
I’m counting gang warfare as terrorist activity.
The very last day of highschool for me was very nerve wracking. In our school, fights broke out everyday. And once a week, a cop car was parked out front. To give you an idea, we had an 8mo. pregnant chick beat up 2 security guards because they wouldn’t permit her to go to the girl’s room. Because she didn’t have a hallway pass, despite permission from teacher. Yikes!
And why did the kids always fight inside the school? As one of them put it, “Better that a teacher come break it up. If we fight on the street, no one’s there to break it up so you get killed.” *gulp!*
And in my last week there, we had some incidents of students stealing other students’ gold jewelry, Timberlands, and just about anything they could get their grubby criminal hands on. Some joker kept screwing with the lights all week to make the theft easier, as was the ongoing rumor. And so people were getting angrier and angrier and more fights ensued.
Adding to the tension was the miserable June heat. We had no A/C – our school was plain ol’ ghetto- as in, when it rained outside it rained inside too. Especially around the stairwell. They had buckets for that.
And that last morning of school ever, I heard in homeroom someone drop the name LatinoKings saying they were coming into the school that day for a brawl. Maybe that explained the uh, twenty-somethings I saw wandering the halls that week – yeesh! And this is a school with security guards, mind you! I also remembered seeing from the bus 3 cop cars out front, 3 more at the other highschool (we had 2 highschools on the same lot- our district was that big!) and I thought to myself,
Fuck this mo’fuckin’ shit!
I didn’t sign in or stick around for homeroom. I walked out of the school> around the back> thru the path in the woods that emptied out into some residential area> walked all the way home. My mom was surprised to see me as I told her what happened. Screw attendance! Living is more important to me. As was graduating, which I did with no problem.
The Fourth Aversion (warning: a little depressing/ graphic)
Was, surprise surprise! 9/11 itself!
The night before, I stayed up all night drafting a ground plan of our kitchen as papi was having it renovated. It took me so long because i was working without my lead pencil/ adjustable ruler/ drafting table.
By the time I was done, it was almost 8am. I was having coffee, showing mami the drawing. She asked me if I was going to the city and i said no, I’m tired. Changed my mind.
A friend of mine had invited me to some fancy birthday at a club about 2blocks away from WTC that same evening. Usually I go to places early to stake them out if I am unfamiliar with them. I even had it planned how I was gonna check out the place early and hang out there all day and go to the Police Musem, NYSE tour, and crash at my friend’s place in the village. I never miss a party! And I was set to go early on the train to beat the morning rush hour traffic.
Alas, I was too tired from drafting all night. Which worked in my favor.
Was about to go to sleep when my cousin called (he never calls) and told us to turn on the news.
We saw one of the towers on fire. And we were like, damn! I hope they put the fire out quick!
Then a plane hit the other one! Another fire!
I already knew those people were doomed. No way you could evacuate that many people from a skyscraper that had over 100 floors! Sadly I was right.
Then both towers collapsed. …………..
I should’ve been there. I came that close! *double gulp!*
The radio played this looooong beep sound. It was the Emergency Broadcast system and all stations went out.
And the rest is tragic history.
Nobody I know got hurt, thank goodness. But I will tell you some of my friends’ accounts of that day:
- My Jersey friends said (they lived along the river) that the smoke burned for days. They could see and smell it from their balcony
- My friend from that party said everyone got evacuated from all office bldgs. all over town
- Another friend said his office sent him on an errand just north of Houston st. where everyone got a look at the (1st) low flying plane that hit the first tower. They also saw both towers fall and he said it felt like an earthquake
- My now ex-bf said he and his roomate weren’t allowed on the bus that takes you into Manhattan (they lived in Brooklyn) and everyone stopped in the middle of the street/ traffic came to a standstill and saw the smoke where the financial district was
- Ex-bf also said that someone came into his store the next day all trembling, and told them he saw some woman amidst the chaos at ground zero looking straight up as a falling brick sliced her head in half. I really hope that’s not true (v_v)
- My friend’s aunt cleaned offices there but went to dentist appt. that morning. Faulty teeth saved her life!
- I once dated this Asian guy who owned many internet properties and had his own office in the second tower. I often wonder if he made it out. I still have his business card in my photo album
- My friend’s boyfriend worked around that area as a stock broker. He told me he was dodging debris left and right and felt that same earthquake. He got home safe but covered in construction debris. The ensuing PTSD sent him to stay in Italy for a month while he recovered
A few months after the mayhem, I went early in the morning to check out the area. World Trade Center was an open gap. All surrounding buildings and skyscrapers were covered in tall black tarps. Broken cinder blocks everywhere. Dusty streets. Dust covered stop signs, vehicles, traffic lights. Several cars, vans, crushed under beams and rubble.
It was a ghost town. Though it was 11 am, there was NOBODY in sight. There is no part of NYC that is ever empty! And that’s unusual for Manhattan. Except for one dude I saw; think he was a homeless crazie. What an awful place – I was overwhelmed with a horrible down. So I got out of there fast and didn’t approach ground zero until about 3yrs after they posted those light beams coming from it.
I didn’t take pictures cuz I had no camera. Believe me the memories are vivid enough. Rite now I feel a bout of nausea just typing this shit.
*going for antacid tablets*
You wanna hear something incredibly fucked up?
The year before the terrorist attacks, me and my friend Poundcake went to World Trade Center. We were on a donut hunt since we heard there was a Krispy Kreme on the ground floor of one of the towers. We got our delicious donuts and sat in the square of WTC. For anyone who remembers, there used to be a black marble circular benchy somethingorother with a matching abstract sculpture in the middle of the plaza. People sat there during lunch hour on sunny days, when the fountain wasn’t turned on. We sat on it too, with our backs flat against the marble looking upwards.
And this, I swear. I fucking swear to you I’m not lying, but I turned to Poundcake and said:
“Wow, now that is damn big! Can you imagine if these were to fall?”
Can anyone say ‘creepy foreshadowing’?
Here’s an old schematic plan of the old WTC layout if you don’t remember.
The Fifth Aversion
Lo and behold! The last aversion to terrorism for SuperMunk!
I went to the Jersey City DMV which was near my new apartment. I went, and waited, and waited….
Until they called my name. I went up to the window and WHAT? They close the curtain on me!
I was told to return tomorrow. Terrific! They were closing 15min. early and I couldn’t be there tomorrow!
So I went the day after and got there even earlier.
So here we were (ex-bf accompanied me) and I was halfway up to getting my name called when all windows get closed down!
We were all looking at each other like, WTF? My ex-bf joked about another it being terrorist attack. I told him I’d believe it too- all the shit I’d gone thru it just wouldn’t surprise me. You could tell me a dancing bear on a unicycle was making his way to the galleria with a nuke strapped to his care bear regions and I’d believe you.
And some lady who worked in the DMV began ushering us outdoors. Of course some of us were pretty pissy about it, and no one was saying anything. No explanations. The whole thing looked like a fire drill.
We went outside following the flow of confused DMV people, and saw the upstairs people flowing out the elevators, and everyone who worked there was being escorted across the street, WAAYY across the street! The intersection was barricaded off, and black SWAT armor trucks and SWAT teams scampering the grounds.
It looked like a parade with so many people! And armed officers. Um, ok?
Me and ex-bf stood next to some chicks whose employee badges stated they worked on the 4th fl. One of them was smiling and saying to the other that the building got a call from someone saying they put a bomb to explode inside the building.
WHOA! Not cool!
So we got Popeye’s around the corner and went home, all disturbed-like. We even forgot the cole slaw and cajun fries.
I, am one damn lucky beeyatch
And that’s not counting all the near-death experiences I’ve had which, I shall regale you with another time. So! Whenever you feel a wave of ennui wash over you, or you’re sitting in a small car with your annoying family, or drop hit after hit of acid on the couch because nothing exciting ever happens in your sleepy town, just think!
You are alive. Your limbs are in tact.
No getting killed in a long-shot freak accident or natural disaster for you! Cuz you are alive! CATCH THE FEVER OF LIVIN’ AN’ BREATHING!
It could definitely get worse. We could all be in the middle of a warzone starving to death. With malaria. Ew.
Look, even if you lose everything, you have your life and you can rebuild!
Everyone makes a comeback. Just look at Mickey Rourke. We all have that ability as long as we’re alive and kicking.
Some people weren’t so lucky, may they rest in peace. I was. And though I teetered on the edge, (too dramatic? fine- I’ll tone it down) I ditched the grim reaper many times and I am grateful to be alive. I especially remember this on the days where I get ultra whiny 😉 Corny yes, but regardless: thank you drunk angel over my shoulder!
And remember to tell your loved ones today how much you appreciate them, cuz you never know if tomorrow may be the day you get hit by a bus! Owie!