You won't see me coming....
I was in Ikea. Croydon Ikea. Where I'd discovered that unlike Norf Landan Ikea, you have to wait at a kind of deli counter for your sofa.It was the one time I seriously skived off work. I was a mobile maintenance engineer at the time, and I'd been out to Kew, and my girlfriend and I had been having grief getting the sofa we wanted and I phoned her up and said, "look, I'm due away from the West End for ages at Kew, so nobody will know I'm gone, so I'll go down to Croydon" and she was like, "okay".So I was in Croydon Ikea, waiting and waiting and waiting at the deli counter for my sofa. And my mum phoned, and I talked to her, and then they switched the TV over the deli counter on, and everyone thought it was a disaster movie, and then we realised it was real.I was paranoid the boss was going to ring up and tell us to lock down all our buildings or something, and I wasnt in the West End, I was in fucking Croydon, waiting for a sofa.My girlfriend took the day off work the next day to wait for the sofa to arrive, and it didn't. So I yelled at their call centre down the phone a lot, and they promised it early the next day, and it arrived at like 5:30am while we were still in bed, and I'm not a quick starter. So stumbling around in a barely awake haze, I signed for the sofa and then my girlfriend discovered the feet were missing, so I was like totally in the dog house.The girlfriend is long gone now, but I still have that sofa. Every time I look at it, I think of mass murder, and Croydon, and what a nice bottom that girlfriend had, which creates a strange sort of mixture of emotions.Anyway, I always remember exactly where I was on 9/11. Bloody Croydon, waiting for a Tomellilla in Delsbo Blue.
Sounds odd, I know, but it's the following morning I remember most clearly.It was my first day in a new job in a distinctly sober atmosphere; many people there had close links with New York. The meeting at which I had been due to be introduced to several hundred people was replaced by a two minute silence (and I had to spend much of my first month there explaining to people that I did actually work there).It sticks in my mind because of what happened on the day I left that job; at my final staff meeting, as I stood up to make my farewell speech, the door burst open and someone announced that a bomb had gone off in London - it was the 7th of July, 2005.
I recall a colleague poking his head round my office door at lunch UK time on September 11 and saying: "A plane's hit the World Trade Centre"Twas the early days of the tinterwebs and news came in slowly then, but Yahoo news reported that a plane (size unknown) had hit the Twin Towers and one person was feared dead.If only...
Working for an American engineering company in the UK, whose head quarters is one of the buildings shown in back of shot when the planes hit.All computers were stopped from undertaking structural calculations and writing feasability studies to watch the events on the BBC website. I phoned home looking for my fiancé who was at a neighbours house. I took the afternoon off to be with her as the first tower went down.
Was living in a small village back home in Hessia.Kids came in to say "DaaAAAAad Mrs von Haznotcurrentlygottamann phoned and sez you need to turn on the TV"Watched the second plane hit and then listened to the 'experts' telling everyone that Tom Clancy had predicted it and that anyone with an Xbox could fly one of those things.By the next day of course the experts had realised that telling people that wasn't such a good idea and suddenly started proclaiming that flying a jumbo was beyond the ken of any mere mortal.Then I phoned my boss to tell him that I wanted a pay raise if he wanted me guarding the sheik's private airbus that night.
I'd had a hard night of boozing and revelry 10th Sep 2001 . I got up at about 9 am, horribly hungover. I walked into the living room where my then house-mate Howard (former Marine, good, god guy) was glued to the events as they unfolded on Fox. "How many Moslems are there the Middle East?" he asks. I, still not appreciating what I was seeing, say, "Not sure. 220 million sounds plausible." "WOULD YOU MISS THEM?" says Howard. I'm not sure he didn't have the right of it that day. An exterminatory nuclear counterstrike on Islamic population centres in retaliation might have been just the thing to nip Jihadi chauvinism in the bud.
Home. I received a call telling me to put the TV on."Accident?" I said"Two planes, two towers, no accident - please don't get in to legalistic arguments."It is near school run. Two minutes later I ring the school secretary and bossily tell her not to argue, no time, put telly or radio on and get Headteacher. They have children of the US military in the school and there may be a delay in picking them up due to major attack on American soil. Will arrange to get them back to the base if it helps.Get over there and wait for the frantic mummies in those ridiculous fat SUVs they are so fond of. Tough cookies, American Moms, they turn up bang on time, not panicking, but grimly determined. Steel Magnolias. I wouldn't tangle. Because of where we are, war is not such a distant thought, but there has been a long period of decommissioning after the Fall of the Wall.After everyone has been packed off safely I found a church where impromptu services were being held. My head full of Thunderbirds I thought it would be bad, but be alright.This is 2001 and I don't like cell phones or satellite dishes, and the internet is still too slow to be of much use outside of institutions, so I only use it at college.Get home and there is a call to ask if I'm alright. Of course I'm alright."You haven't seen it have you?"A friend - UK military - comes round and is shaken in a way I've never seen. Not now, she is thinking, not now we are so close to peace."Is it the start of WWIII" she asks?"No" I say firmly. "But if it is, the rotters are not having my wine cellar. I have a smashing bottle of champagne and I'd rather pour it down the drain than see it taken from me. Therefore, I propose to drink it now and damn their eyes. The only thing is, are you any good at opening these bottles? I'm useless at it, which is one of the reasons it is still here.""Yes" she says. She is a Christian and the iconography is not be lost on her. She holds the bottle and her hands shake slightly, but as she takes control of the situation and her nicompoop neighbour, her rock stands firm again.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
WOAR, may I please publish your entire comment on my, currently undergoing a C-Section, blog? Thanks. blockeddwarfATgmail.com
Came to work for an afternoon shift and everyone was crowded around the TV. We thought it was a private plane that had an accident until we saw the second jet....The world was a different place after that
Having a fairly happy plodding sort of day in a shopping centre with my parents and my month old son doing the weekly shop. I noticed a small crowd around a Curry's store window so went over out of curiosity/nosiness. Five tv screens all showed the news and we just stood there silent and wide-eyed. It was surreal.I came home, unpacked shopping, settled the baby and...with no internet back then for me...flicked on my own tv. Post-natal, very tired from trudging round the shops, deeply shocked at the sheer devastation....I just sat there and cried wondering what kind of a world have I brought my child into ? I got internet soon after.I now know more about the world and the ways of the human race that I ever wanted to know. I consider this one event simultaneously changed the course of all our lives. I fear...and still cry occasionally...at where the repercussions of this one event has taken us and where it still may yet take us.Given the state of the world ever since... and that internet participation has raised public awareness of global matters to unprecedented levels... perhaps the headline on this thread should read "Where were you, when the world woke up..."
Working in a call centre, surrounded by televisions, described here.
My eighth wedding anniversary, I was at work when I got some garbled messages about hijacked planes and skyscrapers, as I drove to buy some flowers for my pregnant wife I heard the South tower collapse on the radio, Safeway sold televisions, I'll never forget my anniversary will I?
The world hasn't stopped turning.I was here.I still am.Only more hacked off.About everything beyond my garden gate.
I was looking around a motorcycle showroom and after a while wondered why was no-one paying attention to me, wanting to know what I was looking for.I became aware that everyone, customers, technicians and sales staff were watching the TVs that usually played looped adverts. I had the 'disaster movie' thought, until reality dawned.
"The girlfriend is long gone now, but I still have that sofa. " If you hadn't said that, I'd have had to ask! "It sticks in my mind because of what happened on the day I left that job..." That's a bit of spooky synchronicity!"Twas the early days of the tinterwebs and news came in slowly then..." Our office internet crashed under the weight for a while. And smartphones were a mere gleam in the eye of Jobs..."By the next day of course the experts had realised that telling people that wasn't such a good idea..."I remember the furore over MS 'Flight Simulator'!
" "How many Moslems are there the Middle East?" he asks. I, still not appreciating what I was seeing, say, "Not sure. 220 million sounds plausible." "WOULD YOU MISS THEM?" says Howard." I too thought we were in for a huge retaliatory strike. And I think that was when we 'lost' the war - when we decided to rebuild for them. We should have left it in flames and ash, and said 'Behave yourselves, or there's more where that came from'..."Tough cookies, American Moms, they turn up bang on time, not panicking, but grimly determined. Steel Magnolias. I wouldn't tangle." Indeed!"We thought it was a private plane that had an accident..." That was indeed the first speculation from the newsanchors, which presumably lasted only as long as they had no video of the scene..." I noticed a small crowd around a Curry's store window so went over out of curiosity/nosiness."I remember leaving work early and seeing a large crowd silently watching reruns of the towers toppling in a shop window. No-one said a word. They just watched.
"Working in a call centre, surrounded by televisions..." Oh, possibly the best place to be!"I'll never forget my anniversary will I?" No indeed!"The world hasn't stopped turning." No. But I just liked the song. They were playing it as I was typing up the body of the post."I was looking around a motorcycle showroom and after a while wondered why was no-one paying attention to me, wanting to know what I was looking for."Which, being a chap, you'd never experienced before..? ;)
Post a comment