That Day, and this day

So this blog is just a few months shy of turning 10 years old. And with another 10-year anniversary happening, oh, on Sunday, I’m in retrospective mode.

I wrote about That Day on the three-year anniversary. No need to rehash any of it here. Suffice it to say that I was in a contentious meeting for a miserable job. And when I heard a plane had crashed near Pittsburgh, I was hopeful that my building would be hit, too.

A decade later, I’ve seen a lot more of the world. But after a truly aggravating week, I’m not overly sure I’m in that much of a better place.

The 37-year-old me would approve of the 27-year-old me’s decision to leave Pittsburgh and move to Washington, D.C. I don’t know that I’d do it today. Sure, I’m always game to cross state lines, but to move eight miles from the Pentagon that had just been hit by a plane? Strikes me as something more fit for the “young” me.

I was just watching a 9/11 retrospective, since those are OH SO in abundance right now. I used to feel so helpless watching the news coverage … like I needed to DO something or BE there. Now that I’ve met plenty of people who either lost family members there, who inhaled so much smoke that their lungs won’t support them for a long lifetime, and who spent so much time providing therapy and other health services to first responders that they themselves are damaged for life, meh. I’m OK in Florida, far away from anyplace that anyone would want to attack. (Other than the parking lot of the farmer’s market. Damn old people and their lethal walkers and Cadillacs!)

I don’t have the death wish I did back then. But I was at least dating and having lots of sex (admittedly not all of it GOOD), so 27 was a better year in that regard. 😉 Of course, I felt like there had to be something more out there. But, what?

I don’t know that moving to D.C. was the answer. But at least it was momentum, you know? If I was going to die somewhere, it sure as hell wasn’t going to be stuck in Pittsburgh.

Of course, I got to D.C. in early 2002 … and we got smacked with the whole sniper debacle. And I hated that job so much that, just like I prayed for death in that hideous meeting in Pittsburgh, I begged any spirits who would listen to bring the sniper to my job and wipe out the executive management team in their special designated parking spaces under the building.

Oddly enough, we DID have sharpshooters parked on the highrise next door. At our prime location on I-395, our office area seemed a natural place for those crazy mofos to take a rest, fuel up and sleep in their car for the night at the soon-to-be-abandoned Bennigan’s in our backyard.

Ah, Benny’s. *swoon* Lots of good drunken fun there. God bless that place.

(In case there is any doubt, I’m inebriated while typing this. Because I don’t want some sappy stupid memorial to this event. Not on this page. It just isn’t right.)

I’m using this pic of the National Cathedral because I consider D.C. my home. I always will. Just like only I can talk shit about my momma, I don’t take kindly to anyone attacking my adopted motherland. The cathedral had some damage after the recent earthquake, and it felt like a small fault line formed through my heart when that happened.

There’s been some discussion online today about what 9/11 would have been like had we had today’s social media tools.

And while I wish the victims would have had access to as many ways as possible to say goodbye to their families — as the Internet was a mess and cell service was near-nonexistent that day — I think we had enough grotesque images in our minds and on our TVs to scar us for life. We knew. We KNOW. We always will.

I don’t know that I would have left Pittsburgh without 9/11 reminding me that I had a whole life left ahead of me to lead. In the same vein, I would never have left D.C. had a friend (age 27. Go figure) not died of an aneurysm and reminded me that I might as well have been dead, the way I was living my life at the time.

Right now, I still have a stressful work burden. I still worry about money. I still can’t please everybody. I still walk on eggshells most of the time and try to just be pleasing.

Of course, this week, I found myself irritated every day from Monday through Thursday. And I dropped my “pleasing” mask, for the most part. God I am so tired. I am truly a thousand years old spiritually. I am too old for this shit anymore. I really am.

My hero right now is Carol Bartz, the ousted Yahoo! CEO. I feel just like her, getting screwed absolutely all over the place. And I love her because she didn’t take it like a man. She didn’t smile and thank everybody for feeding her a shit sandwich. She announced her exit on her own terms and called that merry band of “doofuses” by name. I tip my hat to her. At some point you just get tired of moving your panties aside so everyone can fuck you dry.

I’m not commemorating this anniversary with anything else than watching a Steelers game at a high school friend’s mom’s house. We’ll celebrate her son’s third birthday and I won’t let my mind wander too far back to where I was. But I don’t think I will ever stop looking for what I’m supposed to do “next” with my life.

It’s funny. For all the frequent-flier miles and passport stamps and souvenir postcards from dozens upon dozens of cities that are in my collection, I just don’t feel like I’ve gotten far enough from where 27-year-old Goddess was. On the other hand, I don’t think I would even know her if I met her on the street today.

One thing I do know is that I’m tired of running, only to keep ending up the same place and not even burning one damn calorie from the adventure!

“Last night me and Kate we laid in bed
talking about getting out
Packing up our bags maybe heading south
I’m 35, we got a boy of our own now
Last night I sat him up behind the wheel and said son take a good look around
This is your hometown.”

— Bruce Springsteen, “My Hometown”

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