As our society reflects upon the twenty-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, everyone seems to have their own memories about where they were when it happened. Some were in a classroom. Others were getting ready for work or having breakfast. Yet others were already at work, focusing on a specific task or conflict when the first tower fell.
I was asleep. Literally.
After all of these years, I still can’t figure out why I have so much guilt about that fact. Why is the memory of that day so vivid for me, even though I was never caught in a drop-everything-you’re-doing-because-the-world’s-on-fire moment?
I was in my sophomore year of college. America was only halfway into the first year of George W. Bush’s first White House term. From January 21 through September 10 of that year, all speculation seemed concentrated on how President Bush would botch up our country. Many referred to him as “Resident Bush,” due to how controversial the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in his favor was, regarding the Electoral College.
The night before, I’d attended an AdFed meeting, having just switched my major to Electronic Media. I only went for the free food — to bring some back to my dorm room with me, so I wouldn’t blow through my meal plan quite as quickly. We’d divided into groups and mock-marketed a fake product. I found the whole thing rather silly, actually. Our pretty cute group leader made a bottle of hot sauce dance, as though it was at a strip club.
Then, back in my dorm room, I watched Angel. It was the episode where everyone goes searching for Cordelia in the dimension of Pylea.
I slept in, the next morning. Since it was a Tuesday, I didn’t have my first class until 11:00 A.M. I didn’t have to be up as early as I did for my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes.
There was no commotion in the halls of my dorm. No phone calls from any of my family members, worried about my safety. Why would they be? I was tucked away in a quaint college town within Rural America. I didn’t have a cell phone, at that point in my life — so no texts or alerts.