Today, I am thinking about September 11, like many Americans and lots of other people, particularly those of us who were in or near New York or Arlington or Somerset County.
Two years ago, I wrote about where I was that morning, but I find that today I am thinking about the people I spent that day with — my old coworkers, mostly. Many of us who were on the east coast were at work or school or on our way there; many of us were with our workmates or classmates. Does everyone think about the people they worked with that day? Does that somehow make it more important to have a work family, rather than just coworkers — knowing they're who you'll likely be with when the spit hits the fan?
As I posted to the alumni Facebook group of the place I worked then:
Today always makes me think of our [workplace] family: of being together that morning, of the folks who ventured out on foot to cover the story, of conversations afterward to process and comfort and make each other laugh, of style questions later (Is just "9/11" too glib?). I'm thinking of those of you who were working at [workplace] twelve years ago today, and still grateful you were the people I had to surround myself with.OK, and you get one brief story, not about the day, but about the aftermath.
My boss at the time was very interested in making sure we all had time and space to process together, to get what we needed emotionally. And so she gathered us for maybe daily checkins, which was lovely, really. A few days after the 11th, she gathered us and shared some good news: Even several days later, people had been found alive in an SUV under the rubble. There was such a rush of joy, such a beautiful glimmer of hope — and then a colleague who can best be described as "unafraid to ask the stupid questions" said, entirely serious, "SUV? What's an SUV?" — like it was some jargony term he could not possibly have been expected to know. And the place erupted with the aforementioned joy and confusion and good-natured(ish) mocking we all needed right then. Because, seriously? "SUV" had been a common term for, like, 15 years by then, and this dude was not even 30.
We probably went out for drinks that afternoon.
We usually did.
So, you know, open thread today. Who do you think about? Who were you with?