September 12, 2011

Ten Years Ago on 9/11

Ten years ago on 9/11 I was in an on-again-off-again emotionally-abusive relationship. I had just graduated from university. I had been at my very first post-university full-time job for exactly one month. I had been on my very first work assignment on my new job for exactly one day. I was exhausted from having worked at the office until 10pm. I walked into the office, tired, cranky, and wondering what the hell was in store on my second day. My role was as a software tester (which I hated, because I wanted to be doing development work, not stupid testing work). We worked at one of the office buildings at the Eaton Center. The room we were in had no windows, so it smelled like ass. And it was cold, because we shared it with a couple of servers.

We had barely gotten into the workday when someone barged into our room saying that some plane had hit the World Trade Center. We were all dumbfounded. We tried to get onto the CNN Web site, but it was super-slow. Probably because everyone and their uncle's goat was trying to get to it too. So I called my mom at home and asked her to put on the TV. At that point, she had NO IDEA what was going on. She called back a few minutes later, and relayed the news.

As the morning wore on, the learned the news of what had gone on. It was unreal. One plane hit one of the WTC towers. Then another hit the other tower. Then one tower collapsed. The the other tower collapsed. Just as you thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. This was the type of stuff you saw in movies. Not in real life. Everyone at the office was in disbelief. I could only imagine what those poor people in New York were going through.

There was some concern over the safety of downtown Toronto, so we were eventually sent home by lunch hour. I ended up getting a call from my on-again-off-again in the morning. We were off at the time, but he was worried about me, and made contact. He wanted to pick me up downtown, and drive me home to the burbs. He didn't want me taking the subway, because of reports that the Toronto subway system might be attacked that day. He drove all the way from Mississauga to pick me up. We spent the better part of the afternoon together. I honestly can't remember what happened that afternoon. We did go to some garage, because he needed to get his car detailed. He drove a red 2000 Honda Accord coupe with black leather seats. I jokingly referred to it as the Batmobile. It's funny how things stick in your mind.

He eventually drove me home, and by the time I got home, we were on again. I guess the events of the day were overwhelming enough to me that I thought we had a deeper connection than our abusive relationship. The funny thing is that we were broken up again by December, and stayed that way until the 6-month anniversary of 9/11, in which that big flood of emotions came gushing in.

I think there are few times in one's lifetime which beg the question, "Where were you when...?" In my lifetime, I can think of a few:
1. September 11th, 2001
2. The blackout in August 2003
3. When Obama got elected president (his presidency has been a disappointment to me, but his election was still a remarkable event)
4. The space shuttle Challenger explosion on take-off
5. The space shuttle Columbia explosion on re-entry

In my parents' lifetime:
1. The Appollo 11 moon landing
2. The Appollo 13 accident and safe return of the astronauts
3. The assassination of JFK
4. The assassination of MLK

The interesting thing is that I can more clearly remember my whereabouts and portions of my day during the more tragic events than say, the happier events. Like when Obama was elected president. I remember writing a post about it in my other blog. I also remember that the hubby mentioned that it was a well-written post. But that's about it. The more tragic events, however, stick in my mind more, so I have a better recollection of what I did on that day. And it's interesting that even though we're not directly involved in these events, they can still affect us in some way. The events of 9/11 caused me to get back into a relationship that caused me great stress and misery 90% of the time. Twice. (And pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease do not for a second take this as me blaming 9/11 for my relationship woes. That's dumb, and that's untrue. I'm just saying how traumatic events, even ones in which you are not directly involved, can mess with one's emotions. Just replace this event with another traumatic event and I could've had the same outcome.)

Anyway, although I would rather not have gone through the kind of stress that I experienced with this guy, that crappy relationship (once I was finally free from its shackles), helped me realize what a healthy relationship was like. And what I wanted out of a relationship. And most importantly, that being alone was better than being in a crappy relationship. And a couple of months after I broke it off with that guy for the last time, I met the hubby.

So where am I 10 years later? I'm on my 3rd job since finishing university. I live in the city. I've been married to the most wonderful and tolerant guy ever for the past 8 years. I've had the privilege of having a little person call me "mom" for 3 years (well, 1.5-ish years, if you consider that she's been talking for that long). I know that I will never know exactly what those directly involved/affected by the events of 9/11 went through. I've seen documentaries. Watched newscasts. I am in awe. I am saddened. I will never be able to fully understand what they went through. The physical and emotional stress. The hurt. The sorrow. If anything, though, this is a time for me to be thankful for what I have.

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