I was 28 years old and still lived at home with my mom and brother (who was 30). At what would have been 9:03 a.m. New York time (it was 8:03 in the Central Time Zone, where I am, but 9:03 a.m. for New York), I was leaving for work, going out the door that leads to the garage. That door is near my brother’s bedroom. While I was turning the door knob, my brother, who was in his bedroom with the door open and watching the morning news, shouts out, “Oh my god! Look!” and points at the t.v. I totally ignored him. I mean, it sounded like something serious, but at the same time, I was in a hurry and what he pointed at could have been anything. Could have been some animal trick with a dog ballroom dancing with his owner, for all I knew.
In any case, I ignored him and went to work. (I titled my post “Whatever…” because that’s exactly what I thought when he shouted out “Oh my god! Look!”) I tended to listen to CDs in my car, not the news, so I still didn’t know anything the whole way to work. It was only when I got to work that I heard the buzz of what was going on from everybody. In retrospect, I know now, given the time line of 9/11 events and the time I tend to leave for work, that my brother was pointing at the 2nd plane hitting the South Tower. He’d already been watching the coverage of the first plane having hit the North Tower. But he, like everybody, assumed the first plane was some freak accident.
That whole day at work was surreal. People at work were talking about it, but nobody knew fully what the deal was. Thirteen years later, I don’t remember the specifics of what people were saying, but I do know a lot of people were listening to radios or watching portable t.v.’s at their desks.
For some reason, I remember what I was wearing that day. Khaki pants and a light blue oxford shirt. I ate at Taco Bell for lunch and remember talking about it on my cell phone with my best friend. We were freaked out. She was the first to make the 9-1-1 / date connection (not the first person in general, but the first person that brought it to my attention.) She said, “And think about today’s date. 9-1-1.”
That night, my mom, brother, and I sat in my mom’s bedroom watching news coverage of the whole ordeal for about three hours. We generally lived like roommates, not like some close knit family that watches t.v. together at night. But that night, it felt necessary to just sit together and be together.
I also remember being glad (earlier that day) that the building I worked in was only two levels. I would have been scared in a skyscraper and had been mildly concerned about my sister in Atlanta, who I believe worked in a skyscraper then.