I was working in a small store located in an affluent suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. I had been there less than a half-hour when two girls came bursting through the door telling us to turn on our radio, which was tuned at the time to a music station. Someone got hold of a small black-and-white television set and all I could see was images of the buildings collapsing. I wanted to hear what was going on, but this girl named Debb kept on giving inaccurate information about the events unfolding.
She claimed that there was a fire on the Washington Mall, that a plane had crashed into a building in Chicago, and that one of the planes (I think it was the one that crashed in Shanksville) was supposed to be aimed at the tallest building in Pittsburgh, the USX Tower. I was straining to hear what the reporters were saying because Debb just kept running at the mouth giving mostly distorted facts. I did not have the heart to tell her to shut her mouth, and that I wanted to hear what was going on without her shooting off her mouth. The masculine timbre of her voice only compounded the crudeness.
My biggest worry was getting home, since I was dependent on public transportation, and I did not want to be stranded so far from home. I was trying (and could not do so because of Debb) to hear if the buses were going to be taken off the road after a certain hour. I was able to explain the situation to the owner of the store and was allowed to take the next bus home.
I arrived in downtown Pittsburgh about 1:30 P.M. It looked like a ghost town. The only people I could see were transit operations people. Our bus reached the light just before my stop and one of the operations people pressed him into driving another route so several people could get home.
As I walked down the street, everything was closed “due to an emergency”. I knew it was really bad when even McDonald’s was closed. I walked another two blocks to the bus stop and when I saw a bus that would take me within walking distance or within reach of another bus home, I got on board.
I had just missed one bus home and had a half-hour wait for the next one, so I went into a McDonald’s for something to drink. I sat with three other people, one of whom was awaiting news of his mother. She had been watching the “Today” show at her lake cottage, and upon hearing of the news, suffered a heart attack. She could not be transported to Pittsburgh, because all the air space was shut down, so she had to be transported to a hospital some distance away.
I finally got home about 3:30 P.M. and turned on my television. Seeing all the images and events unfolding in color only made them all the more abundantly real. I was literally mesmerized, yet trying to comprehend what was happening and why.
I had to go back to the store the next day, but I was sorry I had done so. The day before, the Krispy Kreme shop opened amid much fanfare. People were
lining up since 5:30 A.M. to get doughnuts.
I had to put up with Debb’s snide remarks about these people lining up to get doughnuts, but they “sure as hell cannot go give blood.” She sure had her nerve judging those people, as there are many who, for one reason or another, are unable to give blood. After she got off that kick, she began an attack on Hillary Clinton. Debb claimed that Senator Clinton had been “liplocking” some man (I think he was a colleague). To hear Debb talk, it sounded like something out of a pornographic movie. Then she went on to claim that the unions wanted Mrs. Clinton to run. I did not have the heart to tell her that I am the daughter of a union man who was highly respected and regarded by his fellow members. That behmoth SUV she barrels around in, and the building we were in were made by union people, so Debb should never say that the unions never did anything for her.
I was literally getting sick listening to Debb’s nasty cracks and her insults in front of the customers. I ached to tell her that many of the people who live here and come into the store were not born and reared here. They could have had family members, friends, or even colleagues, in one of those buildings or on one of those planes. There was simply no polite, discreet way to tell Debb that her snipes were highly inappropriate in this place. I know for a fact that if I were the one doing what Debb was doing, I would have been shamefully reprimanded. Consequently, I have grown to dislike Debb because of her immoral and reprehensible behavior.
However, it is not the loss of buildings that saddens me; it is the loss of so many lives. Even though I knew no one in those buildings or on the planes, my heart goes out to them.
I feel especially for the young single women who lost their fiances. I can only hope and pray that they find another good, true, honorable man someday.