Twenty years after what ended up being a really terrible Tuesday.
In those days, my air schedule was Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8p-6a. On Saturdays, I worked 0500 – 1300. I had Monday and Tuesday nights off work. I was taking something like eighteen credit hours at school, was active in a few campus clubs, and was a senator in the Student Government Association.
I’d moved back home with my parents because I really didn’t have the money to support me living on my own in Newport News. My health, then, too, was starting to be a bit strange. I attributed that to the odd sleep schedule with early morning or late afternoon/evening classes. I can actually recall one of my first cases of optic neuritis while I was pitching in an intramural softball game.
But my schedule was to write college papers late into the nights on Monday and Tuesday to get a lot knocked out in my couple of nights off.
I have no idea what I did that Monday night. I don’t think I’d been out the night before; I often would do things like read in an all-night diner.
But I had a couple of things I needed to turn in on campus that morning.
I heard the reports of the attack on the radio station while I was taking a bath, getting clean to go to campus.
The second plane hit when, or just before I was diving to campus.
I decided a few days ago to look at what I’d written on OD. One of my classes had a professor who required some strange writing practices.
“This Means Something!”
Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Must buy DVD. After payday.
There comes a point, I think, where everyone who is not an idiot realizes that he’s not an idiot. Much of my time is spent writing something or the other. It could be my very informal writing here for my own sake, it could be writing at work for public consumption, it could be writing at school doing formal legal writing, and so on. I have all these conflicting styles in my head, and sometimes I have difficulty adjusting when I’m forced to use a style.
I have a class this semester that requires me to use this very restrictive (very stupid, too, IMHO) style. They’ve got a grandiose name for it, but it slips the mind at the moment. I had to write a paper using this style on Thursday night. It seemed to me that the paper was a serious piece of shit. I felt quite uncomfortable turning it in, as I didn’t think it was good work. It did, however, conform to the model nearly perfectly. I ended up with an A- on the assignment; most people totally bombed it.
Maybe I can do this school shit afterall. It makes me somewhat hopeful for law school, at least. I’m not the dumbass former teachers had convinced me I was.
On a totally unrelated note, has anyone else been following the latest hubub over the crop circles that look suspiciously like the glyph sent out by Aricebo in 1974 and the face on Mars. Those are just freaky when you put ’em side-by-side. “This means something!”
I’m in an odd way lately otherwise. Have kind of this feeling that something is going to happen. I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, though. Nothing bad, just something that I’m unaccustomed to. It could very well stem from the much different treatment I’m getting at school now. This is *not* how I’ve been treated in the past.
Well, half-right on the last paragraph. I wish I could remember who that professor was, and what it was all about.
I might be able to dig up the TeX files. I think they’re around somewhere.
But I appreciate that she really was making me do something outside my comfort level. Things like that did help me write more effectively.
But the Memberberries are kicking in.
When I got into the Student Center on campus where my club office was, it was pandemonium. The place was just filled to the brim with people trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
There’d been a concerted effort at my alma mater in the couple of years before to add a bunch of on-campus students, and many from Northern Virginia. Many, many, many rich kids stumbling around campus trying to figure out what this weird suburban campus in Newport News was all about.
I don’t remember exactly when the news floated across the assemblage that the Pentagon had also been hit.
Okay, now it’s really real. And there’s probably people there on campus who’d been personally-affected.
I phoned the newsroom at the station, and asked if there was anything I could do. I drove to Norfolk, and was actually stopped at the MMBT by Virginia State Police asking where I was going. I didn’t have press credentials, but I had something like a piece of mail in a station envelope in my glovebox. “Carry on.”
When I got to the station, I went to work doing various coordination things around the newsroom. I don’t know if I spent much time on the air — maybe a few local news updates.
I was on the air until the afternoon drive programming started. I went home, got a couple of hours of sleep, then was back in time to be on the air at 2100.
The days that followed are kind of a blur. I know I probably worked probably twelve, thirteen hour airsifts.
Trying to keep up on my school work wasn’t a big concern; I think the campus was eventually closed for the rest of the week.
The first post-attack writing I have is this:
To answer the coming questions, yes, I’m back for the moment. We shall see how it works, and if I can deal with the frustrations that go along…..I have some new tools that should make my experience better. I’ll leave it at that.
I can’t really describe what I’m feeling or what’s going on. Of course, my life has been busy since Tuesday with the associated problems…..work, friends, and especially school. One student’s mother was killed in the Pentagon, and another had a cousin killed and another injured at the WTC. To top all that off, the president of the university sent out a quite insensitive e-mail lecturing us that it shouldn’t affect us, and that we needed to concentrate on our studies so as not to let the terrorists win. Fuck him. I have no respect for him anymore. I didn’t have any classes on Tuesday, but I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate if I had.
Then on Wednesday, a student died in a motorcycle accident.
It’s just been hell.
I haven’t been able to quiet my mind or body since all this started. I feel like it’s important that I do something, but there’s not a hell of a lot that I can do. But if the United States is going to engage in war, I’m going to try to be a part of it. I cannot fulfill my dreams in a country where anyone has to worry about terrorist threats on a daily basis.
So I’m thinking about leaving school and joining the military.
But I’ll write more later.
Obviously I didn’t leave school or join the military. I stayed in radio for the next few years, finally leaving after I decided to make a change — maybe do neat IT work, maybe go to law school.
Instead, I met a college girl in 2006, and am still with her. She was in high school on 9/11.
Never know what’s going to happen.
I could write some about the aftermath, but I’m not sure what the point is. Afghanistan made sense to me. Iraq I was very much against until I heard Tony Blair pitch it to parliament.
But I think my inclinations were correct. It’s really something that stretches over every administration that’s been in power during my adult life.