Sunday, September 10, 2006

Commemorating September 11th

Some days always remain with you, their events burned indelibly upon your retinas. This can happen for all kinds of reasons, and September 11th 2001 is one such day for me. The events of that day taught me important lessons about the nature of humanity.

As the anniversary of September 11th 2001 looms large in our headlights, I thought I'd share some of my experiences from one of the worst days of my life.

It seemed like any other day as I opened my curtains onto a crisp autumn morning, and I was in a cheerful mood as I dressed and walked downstairs. All that would change after I turned on the television.

With the news on the TV, I walked into the kitchen, directly into a huge puddle of cold water that had issued from my washing machine and soaked through the carpet. As I would discover later, the water had seeped through into the flat downstairs and I was now liable for a two hundred pound repair bill. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Council had finally caught up with me and hit me with a tax bill for another four hundred quid, which put me six big ones down before I'd even opened my front door.

I had to call my boss and tell her that I wouldn't make it to the office until the afternoon, which prompted a foul-mouthed rant on my shortcomings as an employee. The repair guy, when he arrived, was surly and mean-spirited and he proceeded to leave grubby hand prints all over my bathroom.

Of course, the bus to Edinburgh broke down on the bypass and there was a fifty minute wait for a replacement, and the cash machine ate my bankcard as I tried to take out money for lunch. I had to take a detour and borrow twenty bucks off my girlfriend, who was pissed because I still hadn't paid up for our holiday that year.

Then, to cap it all, I get into the office and there's nobody there, just twenty phones ringing angrily, and I spent most of the afternoon dealing with vindictive lawyers.

A real human truth was revealed to me by September 11th - lawyers hate being put on hold. They hate it like fire.

When my co-workers finally showed up in the office, it was to babble about some Jerry Bruckheimer movie they'd been watching in the tea room, grab their coats and make for the exits. Talk about unprofessional.

I didn't get out of the office until seven, and the staff at the cafe in which I ate my dinner were distracted and rude, watching TV and neglecting the customers. The only communication I got from the waitress was "terrible day". You don't know the half of it, sister.

I saw a woman on the TV the other night babbling about "how September 11th changed the world", and I know what she meant. She also said it had laid bare the potential for evil in the modern world, but I think that's a bit of a stretch.

It certainly laid bare the shortcomings in the British work ethic.

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