On 9/11

Feb 10, 2020

I. A Phone Call

It was September 11th, 2001. I required home care at the time for my disability. Long story short, I had a phone session or whatever you call it with the HRA–Human Resources Administration–about expanding my home care hours. It was going to be phone because I have chemical sensitive. I can’t go there. They can’t come here. A phone, right?

So what happens? The towers fall down. I called up. I didn’t even know. It was nine o’clock in the morning that I was supposed to call. That’s exactly when the towers came down. So I call up, no answer because the government phones weren’t working. It was right near the towers. You know those–Anyway, long story short, usually if I don’t get through to somebody when I have to do something as important as expanding my home care hours, I’ll call them the next day, but I said to myself, you know what? I don’t know what’s going on with it. I’m going to give it a week. Even though I didn’t know, but I think, you know, let people get settled, whatever, call back in a week.

God help me. I mean it’s even hard to believe now. Somebody answered the phone. I don’t know where she was from. I don’t think she was from New York. That was my sense with her, sound of her voice, but I said, “Hi, I’m calling because I was supposed to have a phone conference September 11th at nine in the morning with somebody in New York city, but of course” I said, “of course they weren’t available.” She said, “You missed your appointment.”

I’m like, “This was a phone appointment.” I don’t know if she heard that. “You missed your appointment.” Then she says to me, “Why didn’t you take the train to the city to tell them that you don’t want to have the phone conference?” I’m like, “You couldn’t take a train that way that day.” I said, “And I’m home bound. I’m in my house having to have a phone conference. I’m going to take a train to the city to tell them that I don’t want to a phone conference that I want.”

On 9/11. A train. Get out of my house, take a train. And I kind of got a little freaked out. I said, “Don’t you understand?” I don’t know what I said, but I was like “Are you kidding?” Something I said.

She said “You know, you’re really being nasty. I’m hanging up now.”

And I’m like, did this person–was this person in America? I mean, she was but where has she been? And all the things she was saying. It’s like I tell her point blank what happened. She’s like, “You should have told them.” Told them what? I didn’t want to cancel it. “You should have gone and taken the train or got to the office.” Yeah, I’m going to run. Somehow I’m going to hijack a train, disabled. I’m going to hijack a train, get to the government office that is near the towers where everybody’s running, running like hell. I’m going to get through the crowds and leave a note in an office that nobody’s there: “Hi, I don’t need a phone call. I’m keeping my hours. Don’t bother me

She was just not conscious as a human being. You know what I mean? First of all, not knowing about 9/11. Okay. Maybe she didn’t know the government buildings were near there, but she’s not hearing me say they couldn’t answer because the towers fell. She’s saying to me, “You decided not to go.” Where did she come up with that idea? I told her that. It was like she was discombobulated or something. It freaked me out.

II. Dusty Shoes

I live in Park Slope. I remember this guy showing up right by Church of the Gethsemane, which is right near my house. I was right near there and I saw dust, like dirt, orange dust on his shoes. And I didn’t know why he had dust on his shoes. It’s cause he was at nine 11. But it was so poignant to just be standing with somebody with just dust all over their shoes. I can’t explain it. I never forgot that.

I never forgot those shoes, you know?