I remember where I was. Most people do. Rarely do I tell my story. For one, because I feel there are far more important stories that need to be told. And secondly, because I just don’t.
I was still in California at that time. I managed the units within the Student Union at Cal State LA. I was always at work at about 5:15am. One of the units was a coffee shop – I helped the managers/staff start prepping for the day. Salads, sandwiches, coffee, tea… We would turn the music on, turn the TV on to the news, and get our day started. Business as usual. As we’re moving along, we notice that there’s breaking news and they are showing a plane flying into a building. Mind you, we had the music on and the tvs muted, so it took a minute to really figure things out and switch the sound.
My initial reaction was, ‘Damn… these idiots keep flying into buildings. You’d think they’d figure this out.’
Before you start judging me as a callous bitch, what you have to remember is a few days (or weeks) before this happened, another plane flew into another building. I think it happened in Europe somewhere, but I’m not completely sure on that. It was 15 years ago… but I’m certain it happened, because the staff and I started to talk about it. Remember… we watched the news every morning while prepping the cafe.
Anyway, we’ve all stopped working and we’re gathered around the tv talking about planes flying into buildings and that’s when we saw the second plane crash into the second tower. And time stopped. You know that eerie quiet they always use in movies after a bomb goes off? That happened in real time. Because I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around what I just saw. Initially, I thought the first plane was just a really fucked up accident. But as we’re watching the second plane crash, I knew it wasn’t good. And we hadn’t even heard about the plane at the Pentagon yet.
We kinda just stand there for I have no idea how long until the building manager comes by and asks if everyone is okay. We all just look at him like zombies and say we really don’t know. Eventually, they decide to close the campus for the day, so we all leave and go our our separate ways.
I remember not knowing anyone in New York at the time, so I was like, lemme try and be as normal as possible today. After I went home, took a nap, and changed clothes, I decided to run some errands. I went to Jamba Juice and got a smoothie. Then I went to the Gap to buy a few things. As I walked up to the door, I noticed they put up a sign that said they were closed due to the events in New York that just happened. Mind you, I was in Pasadena, California. On the other side of the country. And then it hit me – even though we’re over here and that happened over there… this is gonna be bad.
I remember noticing that a lot of stores were closed. The streets were empty. The kids were already out of school – our school district didn’t start until the third week of September. A few restaurants here and there were open. I just remembered thinking, I do NOT want to sit around and talk about this and I do NOT want to watch the news. So I went to the beach and just sat out there and listened to the waves.
Crazy thing is… if you go to Dockweiler Beach – where the 105 ends and just kinda spits you out right onto the beach – you can see all of the planes take off from LAX and head over the water to wherever they’re going. Not that day. It was eerily quiet.
That’s what I remember.