I had sat on a large cushion in my living room, feeding my almost four-month-old daughter a bottle. It was 9am, Regis and Kelly time, but the show had been interrupted.
With my free hand I reached for the portable phone and dialed my best friend who was a thousand kilometers away with a baby of her own to care for.
"Turn it to Regis. Some jackhole flew a plane into a building. Who does that?" I said, with my usual display of sensitivity and compassion. It could only be a fluke, I reasoned.
"I know, right? People are idiots"
Mere seconds later, the line fell quiet between us as on the screen, before our very eyes, the second plane hit the tower and we seemed to come to the same conclusion almost simultaneously. It takes a special kind of stupid (or, in fairness, a gregious technical error or malfunction) to crash into a building once, by accident. Nobody does it twice.
Not by accident.
I still can't accurately describe my feelings. Sad, of course, for the families and friends that were lost. Humbled, by the heroics and feats of strength and perserverance of everyday people.
I felt angry mostly because of people's reactions. Maybe if I had lost someone close to me I would feel differently, but I remember thinking that in many people's minds, this would simply be justification for hate that already existed.
Justification for taking up arms against people who were different from us.
People who, like many of us want nothing more than to get up every morning, hug their children, spend time with friends and family and enjoy life as it is given, but who would now be targeted merely for sharing a belief system.. nay, for sharing the NAME of a belief system (for, much like Christianity, the interpretations of Islam vary and some people take it to dark places, where others choose to approach from a paradigm of love and respect for humanity), with people who wish to see us dead.
I felt a certain amount of pride in own government's reaction, for keeping a level head when G.W. was making his "If you're not wi' us, yer agin' us" speeches. We went to Afghanistan, but we stayed out of Iraq and I think that was one of the last good decisions ol' Jean C got to make (or his government made) in that final term.
I felt fear, still feel fear. During the cold war, my mother used to have nightmares of nuclear holocaust, and of trying to urge us, her children, to run from the danger while our feet melted to the sidewalk in the face of the overwhelming heat.
In the days following, I felt connected to that memory.
I still don't know how I feel. Awed, that such time has passed. Vaguely cynical, as the more things change, the more things stay the same. I don't feel like we have learned much at all. I'd like to say we value life more, but I'm hard pressed to back that up.
I wasn't going to write anything at all, because I always feel like I'm bandwagon-jumping. I'm loathe to feel obligated to feel something today. I had a great day today, spent time with family and with friends and enjoyed life.
And I did it guilt-free. Maybe that is the lesson. I don't know. What is the lesson here? Is it to fear? Is it hate? Or is it to value life, no matter whose life it is?
Anyway. This song kind of haunts me.
Kimya Dawson - Anthrax