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A good day to feel haunted

I'm up slightly too early, having awoken out of a disturbing dream, but it occurs to me that I'm hardly the only one with any mild anxiety this morning. Many have very personal reasons to be haunted by this date; the rest of us, the lucky ones, just get to experience the dread vicariously. I don't see why you'd be interested in Where I Was On 9/11/01, but I didn't have an LJ at the time, and here I am, up too early, so I'll tell you anyway:

Was asleep at home in Davis, California. School hadn't started, so we were not accustomed to being up early. At about 7:30 the phone rang, and Steve stumbled off to get it. I heard him saying, "Hi...No, no we haven't...Oh...Oh..." (Now stumbling with the phone out into the living room, where the TV is.) "Oh, no...All right...Bye." Heard the TV being switched on, volume too low for me to hear from the bedroom. I stubbornly wanted to believe that his mom had just called to tell us that a thunderstorm was headed for Lake Tahoe or something, since we were going up there that day for Steve's field work.

"Who was it?" I called.

"Your mom..." said Steve, now getting a picture of something on the TV. "Oh no..."

My feet were on the floor in a second. "What's happening?"

"Bad things...very bad things."

I went out to the living room, but before entering it, paused for a second with both hands pressed near my mouth, steeling myself for the all-out nuclear war I was sure I was about to see. Hadn't I had this nightmare before?

Then I sat beside Steve on the couch. There on our new TV (a gift for ourselves for our wedding, barely three months earlier) were the towers of the World Trade Center, collapsing in black smoke and orange flame. I think I asked who did this. Steve hadn't had time to get the story yet: "Your mom said they were bombing New York and Boston." (Don't you love how rumors spread in the face of panic?) But before long we had the now-very-familiar shots of the planes hitting the towers, and knew we were not dealing with a foreign nation, exactly, but with terrorists. They also showed us the Pentagon - D.C. was being hit, too.

Almost immediately they brought breaking news of another plane down in Pennsylvania. It seemed like our planes were falling out of the sky like meteorites. How did they do all this?

Well, that was the extent of it, as it turned out. It wasn't nuclear war and it was "only" four planes. And I didn't even know anyone who was killed - though my aunt-in-law had a good friend who was a stewardess on one of the flights. That's my closest degree of separation, I believe. As I've said, I'm lucky. Plenty of women my age were widowed that day.

We went to Lake Tahoe anyway, figuring it was as safe a place to be as Davis, and we might as well get some work done. We listened to the radio the whole way, getting the reports as they came in. It was surreal to hear of the devastation and horror while looking at the scenic quiet of the Sierra Nevada. They said that hundreds of people were already lined up outside blood banks in Sacramento to help the victims - Sacramento! 2500 miles away! This touched me very much. It was the first time I realized Americans weren't going to cower and look the other way, as I'd feared. I had been dreading a response like, "Yes, well, we (or "you") deserved it. Death happens every day; let's just move on." And those responses DID come eventually, from the usual corners. But not from the average citizen. The average citizen, the overwhelming majority of citizens, saw their country or ally wounded, and rushed to help. It gave me hope that despite what had happened, the majority of people in the world are actually good.

As for me, I decided something along the lines of, "All right. I'll stop complaining. Give me hard classes, throw paperwork annoyances at me, make me live with ugly California, good, fine, whatever - just don't hijack my plane and crash it into a building."

So, while I don't like having death-related nightmares particularly, they're useful for recovering that sober and sensible state of mind. Hope you all can keep priorities and perspectives clear today too. Give your loved ones a hug, and have a good day.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2003 07:08 pm (UTC)
This is not a response about 9/11, but last night I had a dream that Kevon and I were on a plane that crashed. I always have had dreams about dying in a plane crashes. Such dreams leave me queasy feeling in the morning (and have aided in my panic attacks around airplanes and airports in general). That said, I looked up the "dream dictionary analysis" of a plane crash:

To dream that a plane crashes, signifies that you have set overly high and unrealistic goals for yourself and are in danger of having it come crashing down. Alternatively, your lack of confidence, self-defeating attitude and self-doubt toward the goals you have set for yourself is represented by the crashing airplane; you do not believe in your ability to attain those goals. Loss of power and uncertainty in achieving your goals are also signified.

That said, the only part I buy into is the last sentence. However, I think last night's dream was brought on more by memories of 9/11 than anything else.
Sep. 12th, 2003 11:59 am (UTC)
Indeed; sometimes a crashing airplane is just a crashing airplane.

I've had a few dreams like that, but slightly more common is the dream where Steve and I are driving and go plunging off a bridge or an impossibly high overpass or something. I don't think there's anything terribly deep in this; just that I have known people who died in car crashes, and roads on high curvy precipices especially freak me out.
Sep. 12th, 2003 07:14 am (UTC)
Also not September 11 related..

I had a dream a few weeks ago that my best friend died. Apart from the fact that she, er, died from an anvil falling on her head, it was all really realistic. Freaked me out, I dreamed all these details, like getting a phone call from my mum, going to the funeral and realising I was alone and.. uuuh. It was seriously uncool. When I woke up I had such a rush of relief realising it was a dream, and then I started worrying that she really had died and I had to rush online and check she was still alive.

It kind of stayed with me all day, gave me a little perspective for awhile, but I don't really need anymore dreams like that :)
Sep. 12th, 2003 12:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the taste from my dreams kind of lingers the whole day. Which is why I greatly prefer pervy hobbit dreams. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )