As I soundly slept around 6:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, California the phone started ringing. My now ex-husband picked it up. A co-worker told him that a plane had crashed into the twin towers. My husband repeated this to me. I thought he meant that a small two seater plane had crashed into the empty Century City twin towers. Upset at being woken up for no real reason I said with great irritation "so?" The person on the phone then said "no, no, no! Turn on the TV!" We reluctantly got out of bed and turned on the TV. The first plane had just struck one of the New York twin towers. It was hard to believe what we were seeing.
While I was watching the news the second plane struck the other tower. It was surreal. It really felt like I was watching a movie of the attack and not the actual attack. I was still watching the news when the first tower collapsed around 7 a.m. right before my eyes. I could not believe it. How is that possible? Were there bombs on the planes? I started to think that this was probably the beginning of World War III.
I had scheduled to get four kittens neutered that morning at Animal Birth Control in West Los Angeles. Still in a daze I loaded up the kittens and headed off to the vet. No one was on the streets. LA was a ghost town for a few hours that day. Everyone was glued to their TV sets. In my car I heard on the news that the second tower had collapsed. Then I heard about the plane flying into the Pentagon. It really felt like the end of the world as I drove alone on the empty streets.
When I got to the vet's office it seemed no one knew what was happening in New York because there was no TV or radio. Everyone was sitting in the waiting room contentedly clueless and quiet. I didn't say a word. They would know soon enough.
I dropped the kittens off and headed back home. While I was driving home I was thinking "why am I getting kittens neutered when this may soon be the end of the world as we know it? Will cat overpopulation really be an issue after we all get nuked?" I really thought the US was going to instantly go to war.
By the time I got back home my husband was still watching the news while getting ready to go to work. I was having the bathrooms remodeled and the workmen had arrived. I kept thinking "why is he going to work? Why am I having my bathrooms remodeled if this could be the beginning of the end?" I really thought there would be more attacks on US soil and I thought Los Angeles was a prime target.
I went online and took a lap around the stock message boards. People were trying to find stock brokers who were in the twin towers. I found out that some people I knew had died in the twin towers. It was hard to believe that I'd never see them on the boards again telling everyone to buy, buy, buy some POS stock tout job. Even though I didn't like them because they were con artists I felt bad for their families.
The shorters and hedge fund managers I knew who normally would short on any bad news were telling people not to short the market. They said it'd be very un-American to short under these circumstances. They fortunately ended up closing the stock exchanges after share prices plummeted.
Later that night on the news I saw video of people in the middle east dancing and jumping for joy over the attacks. I had an intense desire to reach through the TV and beat the crap out of all of them even the little old ladies.
For the next few days I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I really thought they might fly a plane into LA City Hall or maybe into a fully packed sports arena. I actually stayed away from City Hall for a couple of weeks for that reason. People who worked at City Hall said they had the same fear.
Over the next few weeks they started investigating 9/11. There were some middle eastern people at my husband's BMW dealership in Beverly Hills who had gone to a party in New York a few weeks before 9/11. They were questioned. They of course had nothing to do with 9/11 but if you looked middle eastern, you were going to be questioned. People were reporting just about any middle eastern person or person they just didn't like to the FBI. It was a very stressful time.
Time passed and things started to calm down. I no longer thought it would be the beginning of WWIII so I started remodeling my kitchen. Because of 9/11 I could not order the appliances I wanted because trucks were not allowed to transport them across the country. I had to buy whatever was on the show room floor. I was now a little pissed at 9/11 because I couldn't get the exact model of appliances I wanted for my kitchen.
It's now almost the ten year anniversary of 9/11. Everyone's a little worried about a repeat performance. If the bad guys were to attack us, how and where would they attack us? Maybe a monument building on the West Coast? A crowded sporting event? I'm sure I'll be looking up every time I hear a plane overhead today and tomorrow. September 12th can't come soon enough.
Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.
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