Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11th and the Warrior Grandma

To a degree, I think we all have 9-11 related  PTSD, and the photos and remembrances bring it all back. I have been dreading this date.  I heard planes flying over the house late last night and wondered, "what is that all about?"  Then I heard Amtrak, running late, and thought it was yet another plane.  Always the paranoia, and the images burnt into one's mind.

I remember flying shortly after 9/11, and psyching myself up to kill with bare hands, telling myself I could do it.  Ludicrous, but I was ready, because the phrase, "we fought them tooth and nail" was in my head, and if tooth and nail are your sole weapons, then that's what you use.  I debated wearing pantyhose.  They would make a good garrotte.  The energy required to psych myself up was exhausting.  I told myself I came from a long line of warriors and I could be one, too, if necessary.  Now it seems a little crazy.  But not totally crazy, because two of the planes left from Boston, the ones that hit the towers. 

I flew into Baltimore and drove to Hagerstown for a programming course, because a colleague refused to fly.  All the anthrax paranoia in Washington added to the general paranoia.  In Hagertown, my cell phone didn't work, and I drove aimlessly through the town and took a walk around the duck pond in the park.  Ate alone at a Mexican restaurant.  Had that strange feeling I was the last person on earth.  I could not concentrate on the course. 

At home, I found a old flag pin, probably my Dad's  and bought another one.  Whenever I run across them in the drawer I remember.    Whenever I fly over New York and don't see the towers, I remember. 

No one was able to write fiction for a while, and we all wondered if we would ever write again.  We read "cozy" type Miss Marple  mysteries, because they had little violence and in the end justice was always done.  I wrote some poetry and bided my time. The weekend before September 11th, we had gone to see Apocalypse Now Redux.  The audience was a weird mixture of Viet Nam Vets and Cambridge and Boston academia.  Violence and especially the threat of violence permeated the movie.  I wouldn't have been able to watch it a week later. 

Writers finally began writing again, but anyone passing through airport security today knows we're not back to normal. Still, it's been a long time since I boarded a plane ready to kill.  The Warrior Grandma.  How stupid is that? 

Since Irene, the hummingbirds in our garden are my heroes.  Even in the worst wind, they swooped and flew and defied the storm.  When the tree fell, they came to investigate.  Sometimes they buzz the dining room window when we're having dinner, like they're saying hello or bon appetit.  I like their aerial acrobatics and their pugnacious spirit.  They aren't afraid of anything.  We could do worse than imitate the hummingbirds.

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