now bend over and cough...

Acidman's Airport Commentary

Wake me up when September ends
Here come the rain again
falling from the stars

Green Day

My husband had to take his sweater off, and everything had to go into a bag, and shit to walk through the detector this morning at DIA. He called me to bitch about it. The guys says that everything bulky has to come off. Everytime he flies it gets worse, and of course as a Long-Hair, he typically gets better scrutiny. Time was, Long Hair meant that you were a pacifist. And you certainly don't get much whiter than PHF (I don't go in for that PC crap. We all know who hijacked those planes. Not that whities aren't capable of that sort of destruction, especially the white -oops, I mean Right-wingers. Reference: Iraq.) While not exactly a pacifist, I'm pretty sure PHF thinks Iraq is a total disaster. Not that he says much about it.

Ah well, such is life these days, right? Better than another 9/11. I think the real issue is whether these stringent rules are making any difference. We don't get too many reports on how many terrorists they've caught, do we?

On that Tuesday, 11 September, the day the buildings came down, my mom was due to fly in from KC to Denver to spend a week or so with us. I was naked in my bathroom, one foot in the shower, when the phone rang.

It was Mom.
"I'll be late. Or, I probably won't come today."
"There's a line of people wanting to use the phone, honey. I've got to go. Just turn on the tv."

Mom didn't want to talk about it, couldn't explain it, understandably. This was between the hits on the buildings. At the time I just thought she was being annoyingly coy. But I turned on the tv, as she said. Just in time to see the immediate aftermath of the second hit. Or maybe I saw the plane hit. I honestly don't recall. The day is a blur.

My son unfortunately saw quite a bit of footage that morning, before I came out from my shock coma long enough to put on some cartoons downstairs for him. Not quick enough to stop the play though: for weeks his toy airplanes flew into his Little People barn.

Nearly simultaneously, my neighbor and I hung flags, hers stripe downward with the stars to the proper side for mourning (though for the life of me I can't recall which side that is) and mine with a black ribbon hanging from the top, another proper display of mourning. We looked it up on the net. There was a reverence, an importance to do it exactly right.

What I recall afterward is the deafening silence. Silence when the second tower fell. I think my own heart stopped beating for a few moments. Silence on the phone lines; tied up with people checking on loved ones. But especially silence in the skies. I live near a well-trafficked, community airport, and as everything was grounded the nights were silent. Except for the Air Force patrols. Those guys would wake me, those low flying fighter jets, flying from Colorado Springs all up and down the Front Range. The first time I heard it I was scared. Then it became comforting.

Never having seen the towers, I tried to put it within my own context. What if I woke up and the Flatirons were gone?

We tried to take the kids to our local airport a couple of weeks later for a scheduled tour, but unless you were scheduled to fly, you weren't allowed anywhere near the place. I was disappointed, no more than that. Disgusted. Wasn't that letting the terrorists win? What threat were a bunch of toddlers and moms? But you've got to treat everyone the same. Right. Even the Long Hairs.

Mom just tried to get her kids' blessings ("Someone dare me to go.") to go to Israel. She's always wanted to go do all the tours, and tickets are cheap right now. (Gee, I wonder why.) But of course we strongly disuaded her.

Now I'm not so sure. Like the airport tour, doesn't that let the terrorists win? Maybe she should go, risks be damned. She said once, "I'll be traveling. If my bus gets bombed, I'll die with a smile on my face." Travelling is her favorite thing to do. But the problem is, lots of folks don't die. They lose limbs or their faces, or they just shiver uncontrollably every time a door slams. I guess at her age she can do whatever the hell she wants to. She did after 9/11. She got on the next available flight, I think it was on that Friday, and came on out. Funny thing, she was in line behind a Muslim woman in full regalia; the robes, veil, all of it. And she had three paper bags full of crap with her. The security people, of course, took it all apart to look at it, holding up the line a good quarter hour. Mom made some cryptic comment to the guy behind her, something like, "Come on. I mean, she had to know that they'd go through all of it."

But then, wouldn't that be giving in to the terrorists, too?

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