When Is 9/11 Over?
Thursday afternoon, I'm driving my mother to Dairy Queen for lunch. The air is crisp; the sky is blue.
Out of the corner of my eye off to the right, I see a big white L in the sky. It is a jet contrail. And the turn in it is a perfect 90 degrees.
The bottom of my stomach drops out. Oh no. Not again.
Jets aren't supposed to make right-angle turns, you see. When they turn, they make big, sweeping arcs to keep the physics from tearing them apart. The wrong people must be piloting it.
It's a low-grade anxiety that I live with every time I see a jet in the sky. I send a silent plea to the heavens hoping the people in charge of the plane are the people who are supposed to be in charge of the plane.
But seeing evidence that a jet has moved in a way it's not supposed to move shifts the low grade into a more acute concern.
I realize there is nothing I can do about it if terrorists HAVE begun hijacking jets again, turn off my car stereo so that if we are in the middle of another 9/11, I can at least have one more hour of lunch without knowing about it, and continue on to the fast food place.
I eat quietly, trying to push the thoughts out of my mind wondering if somewhere in America there is a skyscraper in flames. Or a city. It doesn't work.
Half an hour or so passes and lunch is over. I slide back into the car and try to decide whether or not to turn the radio on.
If it's happened, I reason, surely SOMEONE who had come into the DQ after us would have said something. They hadn't. They'd gone on cheerfully eating as if nothing had happened.
I turn on the radio. Idiotpop blares from the speakers.
Is it safe? I ask myself. Wouldn't they break in with SPECIAL REPORTS? Or are they playing music while they try to gather all the facts?
The feeling diminishes as I drive back home with no breaking news.
Just the same, when I enter the house I turn on CNN.
Nothing. I breathe a sigh of relief.
Eventually, I come up with the best theory I can. I decide it wasn't ONE contrail I saw but TWO, crisscrossing each other perpendicularly. By coincidence or cruel joke from the universe, the trails dissipated simultaneously at just the right time to appear connected.
I was thousands of miles away from the danger of 9/11. I live hundreds of miles away from the nearest skyscraper, nowhere near anything that anyone would consider an effective target. If it's that bad for me, I can't imagine how it is for those who were in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, or the planes. Or the families of the lost. Or the residents of New York and Washington.
I HATE this "new normal." I want NORMAL normal.
Kill them, Mr. President. Kill them ALL.
I want the world to start turning again.