It's creeping up on the five-year anniversary of the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. It sure doesn't feel like five years, given how we're reminded of that date by the current administration at every possible moment. Please understand that I'm not discounting the enormity of those events, or of their impact on our lives and the lives of all human on this planet.
I am, however, appalled at the way the politicians have seized every opportunity, whether appropriate or not, to push our Fear Buttons by mentioning the date. Nine-Eleven. Nine-Eleven. Nine-Eleven...
A week before September 11, 2001, I had my own little life-changing event. After five months of trying to work from home at a demanding and high-stress job, I finally gave in and went on short-term disability, hoping I could rest and regain the stamina and energy that allowed me to cope with three hours of commuting on Bay Area freeways and upwards of ten hours at the office. My plan was to rest, relax and decompress - to try and ease the endless stress that comes when you work for a company whose mantra is Twenty-Four-Seven, Twenty-Four-Seven, Twenty-Four-Seven. I'd hoped, when opting to work from home, that I could take an hour or two in the middle of the day to sleep/rest (figuring that the three hours I used to spend in the car could now be spent at my computer, balancing out the time I took to rest), but that proved impossible. I don't think there was one day during those five months that the telephone didn't ring within fifteen minutes of my crawling into bed. Things were chaotic at that company during those five months, to say the least, and I was spending hours on the telephone trying to calm and motivate people whose work lives were imploding around them. It's only in retrospect that I understood just how much that constant, unending stress took out of me, and how much smarter it would have been if I'd gone out on disability as soon as the exacerbation hit... Oh well, Twenty-Twenty-Hindsight is always right, isn't it?
On the morning of Nine-Eleven, I woke to David's shout from the bathroom to turn on the television; when I did, I saw the plane hit the second tower, and that was the end of my fantasies of rest and relaxation (not to mention the end of life as any of us knew it). The horror, the sheer, gut-wrenching HORROR of the events of Nine-Eleven became the center of our consciousness for weeks and weeks and weeks. No more Twenty-Four-Seven for me -- it was alll Nine-Eleven, all the time. All the time.
On June 4, 2002, I gave up any dream of returning to work and resigned my position with the Twenty-Four-Seven company - another 'anniversary'. After Thirty-Four years of working full or part-time, TheMonSter closed that door for me, for good (or bad).
But there are a couple of positive anniversaries in the month of September that I'd like to mention, just for balance:
Nine-Eleven is also the wedding anniversary of two of our favorite people, a day that was (and is) filled with joy and love.
Nine-Fourteen was the day that David arrived in the Bay Area to live with me in our little rental house high in the East Bay hills.
Many of our friends celebrate their birthdays in September - each day is as important to us as the friend who was born on that day.
So I guess that, despite the terrorists, whether they were attacking buildings or the Central Nervous System, there is still joy and friendship to celebrate, even in September.
And it's those Anniversaries I prefer to remember.