Where Were You When…

Most of us probably know where we were on September 11, 2001. I was in Nevada City, CA attending the first day of a three week Thai Massage training course and feeling like a fish out of water. The night before, I met my roommate, a gorgeous Brazilian yoga instructor named Tania, and while she meditated, I wondered how on earth I was going to get some kind of cell phone reception in the boonies for the laptop I’d brought with me. I felt so lost; I was literally in a small mountain town, living in a small guest house that didn’t have any cable TV and all I could hear around me were crickets. Millions of them.

There was, however, one little radio, and the next morning, I turned it on, in need of some sort of connection to the real world beyond the pine trees and all those crickets.

I thought something was off when I heard about a plane crashing into the “towers.” Tania asked me what disaster movie I was playing on the radio, and I told her that it wasn’t disaster movie.

“I think a plane hit the towers,” I told her.

“What towers?” she asked.

“The World Trade Center?” Even I wasn’t sure because the radio kept going in and out depending on where you pointed its antenna.

I asked our instructor and host who owned the property what was going on but she didn’t know. Except for that one little radio that relayed panic-filled news broadcasts, it was all that connected us to the world outside. Well, that and the neighbor up the hill who came over with a burn on the side of her nose after lighting up the bong wrong that morning.

After I managed to get a hold of my younger brother who lived in New York then, and my cousin who worked in Tower 10 (we wouldn’t hear from her until 1 or 2 am the next morning when the bus she’d gotten on right after the second plane hit – and she saw it – finally arrived in Staten Island), the Thai Massage class went on as scheduled after a ritual cleansing of smudging and meditation. What else could we do but go on, our teacher, Janice said. So we went on and bonded as a group, learned a healing art and did our best to bring light into the world.

When I returned to L.A. weeks later, it was a changed town. I could feel it in the air, hanging like a shroud over the city. I felt I’d been on a desert island, cleansed in every way, never expecting to encounter the shock that lay upon the city and the rest of the country. I saw the magazines and caught a glimpse of the images that left a nation and the world reeling and I looked away. Where have you been all this time? How could you not know? my friends asked. Later on, they’d tell me I’d been one of the lucky ones not bombarded by images of destruction and despair again and again and again.

That’s when I set back to work doing what I loved then, massage, but this time armed with something else – the skill and friendship I was blessed to experience in that little mountain town called Nevada City, where deer would come up to feed on the low-hanging apples from the tree next to our window at night and where we’d lie on the driveway to look up at the stars and talk about life – and ourselves.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

 

 

6 thoughts on “Where Were You When…

  1. I was at work when someone came in and announced that World War III had started. I ran to a nearby television that was always on a news channel and arrived just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower! A little over a week later I was taking part in a duathlon. They were going to cancel it but instead moved it to a military base. Security was incredibly tight.

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  2. I was working (detective) when I took a break and walked into our family restaurant to have breakfast with my wife. The usually loud breakfast crowd was quiet as a mouse. Everyone was watching the TV on the wall and I looked up to see one of the towers on fire when people explained to me that a commercial plane had hit it. I assumed it was an accident for just a moment when I saw another plane come out of the corner of the screen and strike the second tower. It was one of those moments where time just slowed down and you did not want to think what you were already thinking. Now both towers were in flames. Someone whispered, “Shit, we’re under attack” at the same moment I thought those same words. If anyone said anything else I don’t remember. I did not order breakfast. I just remember wondering if this was the end of it or was there more to come? I kissed my wife and went back to work. Like everyone else I was stuck to the TV watching the story unfold for the next few weeks.

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    1. Wow, Robert! I agree with time slowing down. It must have felt so surreal. I was up in the boonies for three weeks with no reception and the only time we caught up with the news was when we’d go to Old Town Nevada City for dinner and glean whatever we could from everyone else although they weren’t keen on talking about that. It definitely allowed us to learn as much as we could in a safe environment and then return to the real world when it was all over.

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      1. Yeah, whether short on news or bombared with it there is nothing like it. It was horrible either way. I don’t remember ever being anxious about national news like that before or since (though Trump and NK butting heads is getting close). I sometimes think we all lost our virginity that day in terms of thinking we were invulnerable. And to think there are nations out there right now that go through devistation like that on a nearly daily basis so that they consider what we felt that one day as “normal”. We were blind before 911. We certainly aren’t any more.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re so right, Robert. The bubble we’ve been living in burst that day. To people from other countries, it’s their normal though – it’s just not ours, and it still isn’t even if we’ve kinda awoken to the real world.

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