Five Years Ago Today

What I was doing was riding my bike downtown to work completely unaware that day, and when I got there I walked up to the elevators and was greeted by a mass exodus. I saw someone I knew and asked him what was going on and he told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. This didn’t really compute with me, it didn’t equate with terrorism or anything, and I wondered whether I should go up to the 19th floor but he said everyone was leaving, so I didn’t even bother going up. It was clear this was Bad, but in what way I still didn’t completely get. I knew there was fear though, you could see it in everyone’s faces and so I got back on my bike and started heading home.

I remember that ride so vividly, I kept processing those words over in my head, that a plane had hit a building and I kept looking back over my shoulder for more planes to hit buildings. My adrenaline was racing and it was real fear coarsing through my veins but I still had no idea what had really happened. It was a perfect day here too, blue skies and a warm September day, and I flew on my bike down Elston Ave. expecting the entire world behind me to disappear. I stopped at my girlfriend’s house, approximately 9:30 or 10am, and she was getting ready for work. Did you hear what happened? I asked her, but she hadn’t. I turned on the tv and there it was, all I could see was smoke completely covering the city and it was all over by then. I turned on the radio to see if Howard Stern was on and they had already switched over to a CBS news broadcast. My girlfriend went to work anyway, which was near O’Hare at the time, and I went home to watch tv the rest of the day and night. Now listening back to the Stern broadcast, it is still unbelievable.

I watched the movie United 93 last night, which was pretty powerful and understated, and stayed away from the docu-drama on ABC. Football came back in a big way, which was great, and suddenly it felt like fall outside. Now I hear planes up in the air on this rainy gloomy Monday and resist the urge to look out at them in suspicion. It’s all a long time ago, already, and how time flies past…


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