We were still working in the old location and I was at my desk. Being a news junkie I had WRKO on through the computer. At the time it was the morning show that had Peter Blute and a cohost I can't quite remember. I think it was Osterlind because he was kind of an irreverent guy and I remember blaming him for what I thought was a bad joke.
They reported the first impact as a small plane.....I heard and moved on. Working, fielding phone calls, typing orders, whatever. Then they reported the second and I thought "This is a prank." And I remember being really peeved. Peeved to the point where I was going to dial up the station and beef.
That's when Mark came in from the warehouse and asked me what was going on. I knew Mark only listened to sports radio. He heard the same story somewhere else. Little prickles ran from my feet up my body to dance on the top of my head and sting my eyes. "I thought it was a joke. They told you on 'EEI?" He nodded. He was standing at the fake windows between the office and the warehouse where sometimes I would pass him paperwork and he would ask for fries with it. In my head I screamed it's bad, IT'S BAD!!,.....out of my mouth came the words "Let me poke around, I'll find something." At the time you could get MSNBC and FOX to stream live, and I did and I saw them.
This was the time before SB, I think he would have been my first phone call. He was 8 time zones away.
Then the Pentagon. My sister Jennifer called. "Is this real?" I told her it was. "Tell me what this means?" In my head I thought "It means they can touch us. Really touch us, not like the first one with six people dead. Really touch us, not like the Millennium thing." But I didn't say that. "Who is it?" Images of the Cole and the Marine Barracks and the Embassies and Khobar Towers flashed through my head. That story in Jane's about Massoud being killed......was it yesterday? Or the day before? But all I said was "We'll know soon enough."
People came by my desk all day, asking me questions. Friends called. After all, what's the point of having a geek if you can't question her at a time like this? But I kept my answers short and didn't really convey what I thought. I didn't want to be Cassandra. Why upset people with the horror that was in my head. I figured they'd know soon enough. Days later I remember scoffing at people who accused Condi Rice of now knowing who Al Qaeda was.......I knew. If I knew, she damn sure did and that's what I told people who asked what I thought.
Just before noon, I became obsessed with talking to the two people who were safer than all the rest of us. If America was under attack, of all my loved ones, my parents were the safest. They were in Ireland with my mother's brother and his wife. It was a tour going through several towns. Which town were they in now? It was easily their fourth or fifth trip. The anxiety had long ago worn off and we didn't ask for itineraries anymore. I called several hotels asking for "Kelley" & "McInnis" the Irish equivalent of "Smith" and "Jones". It was hours before I found them.
And then........I had nothing to say, so my father laughed and told me they were fine.....how were his children, his grandchildren? "Here, tell Mummie hi." That pulled me back. He always makes me laugh when he refers to her that way. Like I'm 5 again.
My own were safe. Others weren't. I went to Mass.
You should also read the Chief's post over at the Castle. Also, Beth at her place.
4 years ago