I remember this quite well. However, my story isn't nearly that depressing since I wasn't living in NYC & didn't have any family or friends who died that day. Mine's actually a bit entertaining & unusual.
I also avoid any type of ceremony or events on 9/11 since I don't believe in dwelling on all that in lavish public displays, especially when no one gets to take the day off as a holiday; I had enough of the 24/7 coverage when it happened, okay? Maybe it's different if you were in NYC at the time but even my law school roommate didn't watch the media coverage or go to the site & she was a student at NYU at the time.
To set the scene, I have to mention a few things about my life at the time & what was happening that week:
1. I was a college student in Atlanta; if you want specifics, go read my bio. My school was located further away from the downtown area but still had a Marta stop nearby.
2. I was in a sorority. During this particular week, we were having sorority recruitment (rush for you old timers) & my sorority was hosting 2 national staff members who'd flown in to help us w/recruitment. I was living on the floor assigned to our chapter where our guests were staying along w/a few other members.
3. Classes: I had a morning & an afternoon class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The morning class started at 9:50, if I remember correctly. I had a policy of not taking any class before 10 unless it was a Psych class (which this was) & then trying to avoid anything before 9:30. The class was very small, about 6-8 people tops.
4. My relationship situation: I was single & had just gotten back to school after a summer relationship w/Vampire Boy, who'd had plans to move to NYC but didn't have the $ so had been stuck in NC when I'd met him. At the time, he was still saving $ to move from NC. The weekend before, I'd been to a frat party at GA Tech & gotten the phone number of a guy I spoke to for all of 10 minutes; a sorority sister who'd spoken to him much longer wondered how I did it & I don't even know to this day.
5. My television reception was nil & the only television I watched was VHS tapes of shows I'd taped back when I had cable a year or more before. I'm a huge proponent of getting to pick what you want to watch instead of relying on the networks to entertain you. Chances are, it won't happen.
All these things are mentioned for good reason since they shape what personally happened to me on that day.
For those thinking being outside of NYC means you didn't feel the effect of 9/11, boy are you wrong!!! I think major cities definitely felt it; I'll tell you why in a bit.
I go to my early morning Psych class. This is where I hear about the first airplane going through the World Trade Center. It seemed like a made up story until one girl in the class told us that her mother was a flight attendant for Delta & she was trying to find out if her mother had been on the plane that crashed. Our professor & the rest of us were trying to offer comfort, mentioning that she shouldn't assume something bad had happened until she knew for sure. Later, she learned her mother was okay.
It was a very weird class since my professor certainly couldn't do any teaching with all this.
When I go back to my dorm room, the reality of the situation hit me. I go down the hall to the room of 2 of my sisters, which was our common room since they had this large space in their room while the rest of us didn't. If you wanted to be social, this was the place to go. I see every single sister who lived on the floor, our guests & a few other members glued to the TV while the media is reporting the events. We also talk amongst ourselves about the gravity of it all.
It was extremely surreal. I remember the biggest question on my brain & that I even asked was "What's going to happen tomorrow?" We knew things were not going to be the same. To give you an idea of some of the paranoia in Atlanta, the media & people I knew were concerned that there would be an attack on the CDC or something catastrophic was going to happen to affect people in downtown Atlanta.
My own parents were paranoid about me being in Atlanta at the time but I remember my mother saying that even though they were worried, they felt better knowing I was w/my sorority sisters. Everyone was sure Atlanta was going to be next.
In fact, some of my sorority sisters went to GA Tech to go get some of the members of the frat where I'd been to the party out of this fear. I remember seeing one sister's boyfriend (both of whom I was particularly close with) as well as the guy I got the phone number from the weekend before. We get to talking and at one point, some of us went to the McDonalds down the road to get food.
When my sorority sisters returned from GA Tech, we learned that apparently they'd closed GA Tech completely (this was maybe around 11:30-12:30). No announcement was made about our classes until later in the afternoon, when the prayer meeting was held.
9/11 was not one of those days when you wanted to be alone. Not for me, my sorority sisters or anyone we were around, at least. The personality conflicts & issues you had with people vanished that day. Our RA even had a prayer meeting later in the day for students, which we stopped by at.
One thing I also remember doing is calling friends and family. In my case, I called my family as well as Vampire Boy. Vampire Boy didn't really care to talk to me & acted cold, in my book so I was also upset from that. I felt that my presence that summer may have prevented him from being in NYC at the time; he did spend some money to take me out, after all.
So in the context of all this, I end up talking to the guy I'd gotten that number from. He's officially known as 4 Day Guy. At one point, we end up in my room making out & later that night, he took me out for dinner at this sandwich place down the street I'd never been to. Before this happened, I said point blank I didn't do stuff like that w/anyone who wasn't dating me exclusively. So he agreed that we were boyfriend/girlfriend that day before all this happened.
Days after that (while our recruitment was continuing on a smaller scale), I went to his room at GA Tech almost nightly for more making out. Guess when we broke up, or rather when he dumped me??? 4 days later when his frat threw my chapter a Bid Day party for our new members. That made me even more pissed since here I am, introducing this guy as my boyfriend to people & as a member of the sorority their party is for when he decides to dump me in the middle of it. I'd have rather been dumped on the phone so he wouldn't get to see me cry. I did my best to make sure he didn't.
I didn't drive there so I'm frantically seeking money to get train fare so I can leave. Another sorority sister, who'll have my endless gratitude for this, intervenes & sits there while I'm crying. She also offers some comfort & makes me feel better enough to go back out to the party.
This night gets more interesting. I had a sex buddy at the time (who also went to Tech but didn't hang around this fraternity) who I'd not seen in ages & had no way to contact. He was one of those people who seemed to magically appear whenever my life was falling apart or hitting some kind of turmoil. Some of the members who weren't as close to the guys in this frat decide to go back to campus. Considering what had just happened to me, I was eager to get the hell out of there.
We end up going to another party. Guess who I magically see?? You got it, the sex buddy.
Like you'd expect from a sex buddy, this guy also comforted me in more ways than the obvious. We all like having someone around who makes us feel wanted, attractive, and that we didn't deserve to get played like that.
Life tip, though. Never sleep with a guy the night you get dumped, even if you're really hurting. It screws up the getting over the relationship process. A relationship I should have gotten over in 1 week took 2.
4 Day Guy later had the gall to blame 9/11 for dating me. When I pointed out he took my phone number the weekend before it happened, he tried to ignore reality. Later, another sorority sister decided to date this guy. By then, I was dating someone else but I wasn't crazy about having to potentially interact w/him at our holiday party. Even other sisters weren't happy about it. One even called him "4 Day Guy."
You know you've got a good wit when your nicknames for people start catching on w/others who know them. Later, I learned 4 Day Guy should have been called "Short Dick Man" & that I didn't miss much.
Because of the issue with airplanes & flying, our guests probably saw much more of our real selves than they bargained for since they had to stay until they could get flights out of Atlanta (maybe a week later). You can only wear a mask of politeness & discretion for so long. Eventually it falls away & the true person comes out. That's also a reason I think long road trips are a great way to get to know people. I think they sort of blended in with us eventually.
Now, yes I had a very eventful 9/11. It might sound like I was a slut or wild child in college. Not really. No same sex encounters (nearly all my sorority sisters were straight & none of them were exhibitionists--I'm also straight w/a capital STRAIGHT), no drinking (had a shot of Southern Comfort the night I got dumped & immediately threw it up--I hate throwing up) & no sex unless I was comfortable w/the person, there was protection, we were exclusive, etc. Didn't do that sharing shit & no one night stands until much later on. The guys involved in those were guys I'd have wanted to date but for whatever reason, it didn't happen.
However, I definitely took advantage of the fact that guys finally noticed me as an object of desire & I had no visions of long-term relationships or marriage then since I knew I wouldn't stay in Atlanta for life. My whole life at that time supported me not being in a serious relationship or getting tied down.
I followed my mother's guidance on this, which was basically to date enough so you'll know Mr. Right when you see him. Never said I was saintly but I also agree w/some other guidance passed on by a high school teacher of mine, which is to have adventures & do things so you won't look back when you're 60 & say "I didn't do anything." I did things sober most people would have to be drunk for.
I also never did anything I thought I'd regret later. I still don't regret stuff I did. I figure I got my wild oats/adventures out of me & by the time I met my husband, I was all set. That's not even to say I don't still have interesting things happening there; I still think sex is extremely important in a relationship & my husband agrees. You'd never see either of us in a sexless marriage.
The Vampire Boy saga continued later but that's another story.
So that's my fun & exciting 9/11 story. I figured it would be interesting to share years later w/people who weren't alive for 9/11 since it's a bit more interesting that the typical "where were you" stories of major national events.