From A Wealth of Common Sense blog.
(I thought I had posted this on 9/11 but I just found it in my “drafts”)
Everybody remembers where they were on 9/11. I was supposed to be on a plane to Washington D.C. that morning. I was signed up to attend a technical conference in the D.C. area. It happened to be sponsored by the military. We didn’t usually do much of this sort of thing, but it was a new conference and we knew some of the committee members and were sort of helping them get started.
I usually would have flown out the night before, but I had been travelling a lot and didn’t like burning up my weekends for The Company. So in a small bit of rebellion I scheduled this flight on Monday morning, on their time. Monday morning I came downstairs and my wife was watching the TV in the kitchen. “I don’t think you are going anywhere today”, she said. There was a building in New York with smoke billowing out of it. There wasn’t much information. I was arguing that it was probably ok, that I was flying into D.C. when, in the background, on the TV, I saw the second plane hit.
No, I wasn’t going anywhere today. There was no real information on the news, just increasingly chaotic scenes. My daughter was in pre-school and we wondered if we should pick her up. My son was almost one. It was a beautiful day, so we put him in the stroller and went for a walk to get away from the TV.
I happen to remember that at any given time, there are about 10,000 airplanes over the US. I did some quick math. Suppose 10% of these planes are hijacked. That’s 1,000 airplanes. Enough to crash ten planes into one hundred US cities. It would be a disaster without precedent. We were in Austin, the capitol and home of the president at that time. It seems like a probable target. The skies were eerily quiet and I kept listening for an incoming aircraft. We were pretty far from the capitol, but it would certainly be a target. We would be close enough to hear, and perhaps see, any airplanes headed that way.
I didn’t share these thoughts with my wife. I kept listening for an incoming jet, but one never came. Oddly when I learned there were only four planes, I was actually relieved. I still believe it could have been much worse.
In the afternoon, the phone rang. It was my father. He was surprised when I answered. He thought I was in D.C., or worse. I didn’t even realize I mentioned my travel plans to him. He was afraid to call, but a friend told him he had to call, expecting he would talk to my wife. But all was well, I hadn’t even gotten out of Austin.
Some of the people I knew at the conference in D.C. said they evacuated from the conference immediately, perhaps with information from the military attendees. Four people I knew realized they were stuck in D.C. for a while and rented a car and drove all the way back to California. I remember not much happening at work, or anywhere for the next week. Only gradually did the shock wear off.
A good read about the history of ballpark nachos. Out of San Antonio, and by a Sicilian-American family.
Popeyes turns fifty this year. Been a fan almost that long, since it was a local chain in New Orleans.
A good read on the current energy situation in Europe.
Had a screw in the front drivers side tire. Too close to the sidewall to patch. Tesla man came out and said he could replace the tire, right there in the driveway! While he was doing that I killed a rattlesnake that was blocking the front door. Busy morning.