The most enduring dynamic in personal testimonials about 9/11, at least for anyone who watched it on TV, is the interruption of the trivial by the terrible. “I had just finished my breakfast when…” “I was coming out of the shower and…” “I was on my way to second period for a vocabulary quiz and…” I’m not sure why this is, but it feels unavoidable for me, too. I was getting ready to go to work on one of my last days as a summer intern for the Chicago film festival. As I got dressed, I flipped on the TV to watch Sportscenter when… After watching for about an hour, and talking to my mom in London (she was okay), a big question became whether I would go to work that day. A few phone calls revealed that they wanted us to come in (there were some catalogs that were going to be shipped out now or never). Public transportation was down, so I took a cab. I remember thinking, on my way to the office, that I had finally entered history; that this was what it felt like to live in history (I was 20). And then also that it must be serious (there were still questions at that point about how serious it was), because the Starbucks where I normally got my coffee before work was closed. And Starbucks was never closed. Which was the kind of detail I remember thinking it would be good to include when people asked me (as they inevitably would) what my 9/11 had been like. As if the most interesting news I could share regarded how it had disturbed my morning routine.


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