Where was I 10 years ago today, when I heard?
I was in Vodkaberg, and I was coming home at maybe 11:00pm after eating with a colleague at one of two pizza restaurants in Vodkaberg at that time.
The phone was ringing as I unlocked the series of three doors which allowed access to my apartment. I thought the phone ringing was a little unusual; at that time, nobody called me on a weekday at that hour.
The phone rang ten times or so while I was unlocking the door, and then stopped; it started ringing again as I was taking off my coat and boots, and continued ringing until I picked it up.
It was an annoying student guy, something of a stereotypical dork with glasses, who missed no opportunity to practice his English.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, I didn't know if you were sleeping, there's been a huge terrorist attack in America, maybe 40 or 50 thousand people are dead..."
"What? 40 or 50 THOUSAND? How is that possible..." I don't think I even had internet at home at all, at that time, so I turned on the TV.
"It was at the World Trade Center in New York."
I flipped through the channels -- it was the usual detrius of stuff that was on Russian TV at that time; true-crime programs, infomercials, badly-dubbed reruns of TV shows from the 90's like PROFILER. (This was slightly before reality shows became prevalent.)
Then I saw live news footage of this:
(Of course the body count turned out a lot lower than originally reported, but it was still plenty high.)
There was a lot of sympathy and support from students during the next week, although our little screech-owl of an office manager said something like "Frankly speaking, it's not a surprise, because America has interefered in other countries' business many times."
Russian thugs rose to the occasion; a friend who had a sister working in the emergency room reported a tremendous rise in the number of "choorkies" -- people from the Caucus region -- hospitalized after being beaten on the street.
Speaking to a girl I knew, a couple days later, who could see that I was upset, she said, "you just can't stop thinking about all those people who died?"
"It's not that . . . or not just that. The whole world is going to change, and it's never going to go back. Do you know how difficult EVERYTHING will be, from now on? Travel, work, everything. They'll watch every move we make, every dollar we spend.
America will go crazy. . a lot more people are going to die after that day, than died ON that day."