Pausing to acknowledge September 11.
It would be messed up if I didn’t. This is a day I still have a hard time with, even 11 years later. While it affected the entire country (and the world), I’m not sure that anyone else can understand how completely terrifying it was to be in New York, specifically downtown Manhattan, that day. I’ve never felt so certain I was actually going to die.
I was living there at the time — moved there as a teenager, started college early, story for another time — and I still remember the entire sequence of events.
I happened to be walking downtown to the library when both planes hit. I’m not sure how global communications would proceed today, but instantly, everyone’s phone went dead — from both service interruption and the entire city at once trying to make a call. Of course there was no mobile web, so basically we all stood there on the street, watching mass destruction, having pretty much no idea what was going on. I was in line for a pay phone (!) as I watched the second tower completely collapse inward, just turning into dust like you see in excavation demos on TV.
The day and week afterwards, the city shut down everything below 14th Street, where I happened to live, and you had to show ID to cross the barricades. Past the barricades, everything was closed anyways, and it smelled like burning flesh and debris for more than a week. People walked around outside with handkerchiefs and masks because of the stench.
Related to this blog, my first seriously disordered eating started not long afterwards. It sure wasn’t the only reason, but that connection between major disaster/catastrophic stress and unhealthy behaviors has kind of always stuck with me over the past 11 years. That’s a ridiculous amount of time to intermittently waste on this so that’s why I’m really trying to lick it now.
Off topic for a minute there. Anyways, I’m taking a few minutes to reflect and think about all the people who died, and alternately, stepped in to help. One (warped) positive thing was that in the ensuing weeks, New York became an uncharacteristically kind, empathetic place.