Where were you when the world stopped turning…?


Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.  I saw a headline that likened the day to ‘History Just Like Pearl Harbor.’

Well, that is certainly true.  It was history, just as our births, deaths, celebrations and actions are history.  And yet, for all the significance of our day to day activities, 9/11 somehow stands out as an especial time in history.

  • It was the day people realized that their ‘homeland’ was not immune from attack.
  • It was the day people learned of needs and incidents far greater than their own daily heartaches and activities.
  • It was the day that we learned what it is to be truly helpless.
  • And it was the day that we learned that we could survive, and that heroes really existed.

Russian ‘Tears of Grief’ memorial

(It was also a day I learned that some people are too stupid to live and need to be devoutly ignored:

A woman from Canada on a message board:

Americans need to think, sincerely and without offense, what they did to cause this attack.’

I don’t generally get nasty in public.  You don’t put out there on Facebook or message boards things that you wouldn’t want printed on the pages of the great newspapers of the world.  But my response that time reduced the poster to tears.  And I don’t regret a word.)


I heard the tales of heroism, of the firefighters and rescue workers toiling up the stairs in the Towers against the tide of fleeing people.  Going ever upward to serve and protect and rescue.  Giving their lives.

I never saw the footage of the plane striking the towers.  I missed it, somehow  In later years I decided not to seek it out.

Some months after the attack, I was talking with my father, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  I was saying how humbled I was by the heroism we saw on 9/11. 

Dad frowned thoughtfully.  “We saw heroes,” he said.  “They were everywhere that day, and after.  The people lining up to give blood, to help however they could…  But, you know, if I had to say who the real heroes were that day…”

He fell silent.

“The police and rescue workers?” I suggested.

Dad shook his head.  “They were heroic,” he said.  “But you know, that was the purpose for which they pledged their lives.  To serve, protect, fight if necessary…  And they did it beautifully.  But those people on the plane in Pennsylvania, possibly headed for the U.S. Capitol…  They were everyday folk with the backgrounds they had, caught up in a situation.  And they took action. They were true heroes.”

Maybe so.   Probably so.  Everyone seemed to step beyond their own needs and turn to others’ needs…

It was a day to remember.  One that should not be forgotten or belittled, any more than the other great watersheds of history.

Where were you then?




Laptop Detonation


My laptop was stolen in January of this year.  It was a nice laptop, and it was my own stupid fault.  I left it on a plane.  Twenty minutes after arriving at my hotel I realized what had happened, phoned the airline and asked that they look for it.  I had my seat number…
 
The thing was never found.  I think someone swiped it on the way out of the plane.  Heaven knows they all searched for it (and were very nice about it).  So, it was gone.
I had a short-lived moment of panic: there was a lot of personal information on that thing, but then I remembered that I had a password that was about as break-proof as can be managed.  After a couple tries the memory banks would have been erased and the machine sold on.  It was still annoying, but, as I said, it was my own stupid fault.
I was out of town.  I commissioned a friend to find me another, gave a price range and a sincere thanks.  She found a laptop that had been marked way down because a newer model was being rolled out.  The markdown was very dramatic.  The laptop had huge memory, incredible RAM.  It was fast, capacious – and it was on sale for just about $30 more than I’d budgeted.  Definitely a fabulous buy.
I have been using it and very happy with it, but it started getting a little cranky.  I backed everything up in duplicate and then took it to ‘The Geek Squad’. 
They looked it over, gave some suggestions, and I took it home and followed the suggestions – defrag the thing, do a disk cleanup, upload updates.  It froze.  It would not start.


So I took it back the next day.  It was under warranty, though I had declined the extended warranty.  I left it there, ran my errands – and received a phone call.

 
You have a defective hard drive.  It will need to be replaced.  It is, however, under warranty… (Imagine the voice of the announcer for Superman).
 
What can you say?  Machines fail.  I gave the OK to ship the laptop out and get the hard drive replaced (they didn’t have one in stock, since it was an ‘older’ model).  I had no complaints.  It was under warranty and it would be fixed. I had backed everything up, so I had lost no graphics or manuscripts.  And my friend, who found me the laptop in the first place, has one she isn’t using.
 
Life isn’t always convenient, of course, but I think I was lucky.