Thursday, September 11, 2003[posted by jaed at 7:40 PM]
I was still asleep when it happened. The phone rang at about 7:30 Pacific time, and I ignored it and went back to sleep. By the time I got up, it was 9:45. The message was from a friend saying "Major terrorist action in New York! Check it out!"
I went through that moment of blurrily thinking she was kidding.
Then I turned on the television. Flip, flip, several channels of Portland's useless mayor talking about how "the city is secure" - no actual information to be had, but the same thing was on all the networks, so I knew something was going on. I don't have cable, so there weren't many choices. Flip, flip. PBS had Barney: no. Fox News, at the end of the dial, had a live shot of a city skyline, obviously New York, with lots of smoke, and someone talking about reports of a car bomb outside the State Department, something happening at the Pentagon. I'm not very familiar with New York, so it took me a minute to understand what I was seeing. I was thinking that with all that smoke, there must be a terrible fire somewhere in New York, this must be what was happening.
Then I thought wait a minute, isn't there supposed to be a building there where all that smoke is?
And then the announcer recapped, and I understood that what I was looking at was the World Trade Center, which wasn't there any more (nor any of the people who had been in it), because someone had flown a passenger jet into it.
No theme music, no clever logos, no titles - all that offensive garbage came later, after the news producers had had time to get their breath back - just a video feed along with about twenty words of simple recitation of the facts. And two thoughts in my head:
"Oh, my God."
"We're at war."