Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My 9/11

Well, here we are six years to the day I was leaving work very early from Olsson's Books & Records on 7 & E. St. NW in Washington DC, making my way up 7th to K Street trying to get to Dupont Circle on September 11th 2001. I was hoofing it because something told me I shouldn't be putting my life in the hands of the crack security staff of the DC Metro.

As I walked down K Street I saw an ever evolving scene of complete rush hour chaos, but in reverse -- and panicked. It was 10 in the morning and everyone was trying to get out of Dodge. Along my way there was a odd scene where maybe a hundred people stood in a semi-circle, apparently stuck in their tracks by what was transpiring on a bank of TVs in the windowe of a video and electronics store.

I didn't even stop, I kept walking not knowing that the towers were falling until much later. Whe I heard fighter lets overhead firing their afterburners and I knew I had to keep moving to my friend's house on R street to find out what the hell was going on.

When I got to R street my friend still hadn't made it home yet. I went to a pay phone to call her but and there was this massive line because, as I soon found out, everyone's cell phones were out. I eventually got in touch with my firend who, I was told, was in a meeting.

I was dumbfounded. I told the person on the phone, "In a meeting? Are you kidding, do you know what's going on?" But, I guess, the BS business of Burson Marsteller never stops for anything, not even an attack on the United States.

While I was waiting for my friend to get home, I made my way down to Q street and stopped into that little beer and wine store on the corner to get a Mountain Dew. I found inside a line of men and women all decked out in their K Street power suits waiting to buy their bottles of wine and six-packs. I couldn't believe there were these upstanding K street types standing in line at 10:30 in the AM waiting to go home and get drunk!

After cogitating over that weird scene for a while, I made my way down to Conn. and R st. to wait for my friend at the Cozi that used to be there. The place was shut down but there were folks sitting in the outdoor cafe looking through the window trying to see that was on the TV. All I could see was a huge cloud of smoke over the river, but the closed-caption was too small for me to read so I still didn't know what was going on.

A German TV crew amazingly had found two Germans standing right next to me, who were interviewing them about their reaction to what was going on. Bizarrely, while that as going on, there were three Arab guys sitting down, very nonchalantly, speaking in Arabic like there was nothing going at all.

I thought, that was very strange, because even though I had no idea what was going on, beyond knowing about a plane hitting the WTC, I just had this feeling the Arabs had something to do with it.

My firend finally got home,I found out what was going on and the rest is history. I went home, eventually, white-knuckling it the whole way back to the People's Republic of Takoma Park on the Metro and and spent the rest of the day and night until about 4 AM watching TV.


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