Where were you
September 17, 2001 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Where were you when "America was attacked"®?
posted by incubus (34 comments total)
I was asleep in Los Angeles. Wherewereyou.org didn't exist. The world was much more fun.

For some reason - and, no, I can't put my finger on it - this web site creeps me out. It doesn't feel right.
It seems like a nice idea. But for some reason it irks me. Again, I can't put my finger on it. It's similar to a sort of senior - in - high - school - can't - respect - the - freshman feeling, if anyone understands what I mean by that. I mean, it only happened a week ago. It's as if some GenXers are racing to show just how affected "we" are. Look! We're just like you, mom and pop! (Granted: I have no idea if this site was created by a GenXer. Granted: You and I have a similar definition of GenXer.)
posted by GatorDavid at 5:00 PM on September 17, 2001

I was asleep in my dorm. All was fine.
posted by philulrich at 5:02 PM on September 17, 2001

On Metafilter, drinking a beer (different time zone).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:12 PM on September 17, 2001

i was also asleep in my dorm room, and i was dreaming of eating pancakes. i really like pancakes. who else likes pancakes?
posted by rorycberger at 5:20 PM on September 17, 2001

GatorDavid is right. A new website to record the feelings of real people, with a copyright notice at the bottom, is not what is needed right now.
I don't know what is needed right now, but I'm not alone.
Less talking more thinking I say.
Hugs from the UK.
posted by magpie68 at 5:23 PM on September 17, 2001

i think i know what you mean gatordavid. it seems like a nice sentiment, but it somehow strikes me too soon and too anecdotal for this tragedy. i think i once read in a book (mark leyner's?) a term "hypernostalgia" used to describe our sped up, somewhat contrived treatment of memories. in any case, i mean no disrespect. just what you said rang true for me as well.
posted by katexmcfly at 5:36 PM on September 17, 2001

I think MeFi did a pretty good job of recording feeling on the subject. Some of us were right here.
posted by bjgeiger at 5:38 PM on September 17, 2001

Look. Perhaps their hearts were in the right place, but all of these tributes with somber music and touching photos just aren't doing it for me. This is worse. Somehow, it makes me think that instead of reflecting on what happened last week, and well - just being - they quickly fired up the Mac and couldn't wait to show off design skills. Yes, I know, my name suits... Sigh.
posted by cyniczny at 5:41 PM on September 17, 2001

I'm with Gator -- this is slighlty creepy, particularly the "news graphics" in 3-dimensional view, which brought to mind that art project (I can never find it when I want to) doing historical events as if they were the overhead pixelated view of a computer game.

It's so different from the Fray in so many ways.
posted by dhartung at 5:44 PM on September 17, 2001

The art project: Screenshots.
posted by darukaru at 5:52 PM on September 17, 2001

Will they publish a book of these anecdotes?
posted by rushmc at 6:01 PM on September 17, 2001

...It would be a great historical resource. The media records everything, true, but those records get lost and aren't compiled like these fresh ongoing thoughts from people of all backgrounds.

i dislike the superficiality & hyper-self-awareness of it all.

and i really don't think that "those records" created by the media "get lost" -- are they trying to create an artificial scarcity of recording and reflection? methinks that the incredible journalism currently on-going will outlive this website one-hundred times over.
posted by palegirl at 6:05 PM on September 17, 2001

Y'know what else? You're not allowed to include URLs in your comments / posts to the site. There's some lame excuse about web links (or pages) "no longer existing". Uhm. Yeah. So. What about wherewereyou.org? Will that one still be around? Irony, table of one?
posted by GatorDavid at 6:28 PM on September 17, 2001

May dad was supposed to be at the Pentagon, but happened to have cancelled his meeting. Praise God.
posted by aaronshaf at 6:56 PM on September 17, 2001

If I hear anymore god praising, god blessing, or lord thanking 'round these parts, I'm going to get all cranky.

(but I'm still glad your father wasn't at the Pentacle Pentagon, aaronshaf)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:08 PM on September 17, 2001

Just checked in on the dot com "where were you" site--and found a nice page about the July 20, 1969 moon landing. And just to appease my own curiosity, I've e-mailed the contact person at the dot org site, with the valid question, though not languaged in quite these terms... "hello sunshine--why the copyright, and where are these submissions going?"
posted by datawrangler at 7:22 PM on September 17, 2001

And if anyone else posts anymore whiny, meanie, uncalled-for insults around these parts, particularly about others' spirituality, I'm gonna get all cranky.
posted by mirla at 7:53 PM on September 17, 2001

brooklyn, ny-- the week started out normal and i was thinking about what i wanted to do for my 29th birthday on saturday, the 15th.
tuesday morning i woke up late for work, as usual. i turned on the news, as usual, before heading for the shower. after i came out of the bathroom, i saw on ny 1 that the first plane had just hit 1 world trade center and it seemed like some freak accident. my posted by miss b at 8:25 PM on September 17, 2001

If I hear anymore god praising, god blessing, or lord thanking 'round these parts, I'm going to get all cranky.

And if anyone else posts anymore whiny, meanie, uncalled-for insults around these parts, particularly about others' spirituality, I'm gonna get all cranky.

In the past week, the repeated mention of "God", "praying", "blessing", or whatever other religious references you can come up with, has indeed been overwhelming. Especially for people who do not follow such belief systems, it's hard to avoid these references, which are seemingly thrown in our faces constantly. It's also bothersome when there has been much mention of how people of all religions should just get along .. where does that leave the atheists and agnostics?

Of course, it's best overall to just be tolerant of other people's beliefs -- or lack thereof -- but it would be nice if everyone could keep their religious beliefs to themselves, at least most of the time.. Then we wouldn't have to deal with either of these comments here in the first place..
posted by valerie at 8:27 PM on September 17, 2001

I was in the car on my way to work, listening to my regular 80's station (last song I remember: "Heart and Soul," T'Pau - a classic). I switch over the NPR to catch the last of the local news, I get traffic, local business report, and the announcer signs off with "More on the plane crash into the World Trade Center in a moment." I do a double take and question whether I actually heard it or not (first cup of coffee only half done, brain plays tricks). I turn NPR up, they go into some horseshit All Things Considered about some national award winning squash-growing contest or some such garbage. I'm beginning to think that maybe the previously vaunted FesBrain is starting to cough up unregulated bits of mental detritus.

I get to work, I ask the receptionist, "Did someone crash a ****ing plane into the WTC?" She jerks a thumb at the main conference room, where the entire office is gathered watching the proceedings. My assistant is standing outside the door looking in. Plane #2 had just done its number on Tower #2. She looks at me with one of her patented disgust-for-all-humanity looks and says (and I quote) "Some terrorist cocksucker just blew up the goddamned world trade center." I enter newly created BizarroAmerica.

I'm still there. BizarroAmerica sucks.
posted by UncleFes at 8:27 PM on September 17, 2001

I was in bed, desperately trying to get another 10 minutes, no 20 minutes, no 30 minutes of sleep. Hitting the snooze button on NPR every 10 minutes. During one blip of consciousness, I heard Bob Edwards say something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. He didn't sound panicked. Next alarm: Classical music. Next alarm: NPR News is back, and this time it sounds BAD. I jumped out of bed, shouted Holy FUCK and stumbled quickly downstairs to the TV to stand there, blinking and trying to clear the gunk from my eyes, thinking I was still asleep and this was some kind of freaked-out dream.
posted by schmedeman at 9:14 PM on September 17, 2001

Woke up to roommate yelling, far too loud, "We're under attack!" Went back to sleep, woke back up at noon, convinced it was a dream. It was very strange.
posted by j.edwards at 9:34 PM on September 17, 2001

So we're telling our stories here instead of handing over our copyrights? Straight up.

I was sleeping in, too, when a friend called me to wake me up. "Are you watching TV?" Well, no, because I let my cable lapse and didn't connect the antenna again, and I was enjoying being unplugged for a while. "Somebody just flew a plane into the WTC!" Yah. I'm awake. I turned on the TV to the one channel that comes in sort of fuzzy and saw the second crash. Holy fuck I'm awake. I begin digging around my closets looking for the freaking antenna, there it is, no only part, there's the rest, back to the living room as I screw things together, plug won't fit, damn that's the RCA sound jack, there. Clear as day. Nobody knows what's going on but ... now we know it was nohow any kind of accident.

(She was watching GMA when they cut to show "some kind of fire at the WTC" ... almost immediately her air controller bf called her to tell her it had been a hijacking, so she knew before the people on air did.)

I'm still standing there dumbfounded when the phone rings again, and talking to my friend. Her Mom was already at work in Detroit's RenCen and they were concerned in case this was happening everywhere. She went out "for stamps". We were talking about the people jumping when suddenly the smoke puffed out as the fire floor buckled, and she keened in a Celtic warble as the tower came down in a flood of dust, providing me with an eerie soundtrack I'll never forget. "All those people!"
posted by dhartung at 9:38 PM on September 17, 2001

I was at work, doing a catering order of 700 box lunches for Georgia Tech. Had the TV on. Matt and Katie were droning on and suddenly went to a picture of Tower 1 after the impact. I started in about "maybe it wasn't an accident" and my coworkers --used to my entertaining ability to instantly invent a conspiracy theory about anything-- started to tell me I was being paranoid. Just then the second plane hit. I saw it live and in color. I will never forget it.

I have never felt this way before. My life has put in me situations where I have felt personal terror before, but, I always knew what the threat was ( a person or a place, etc.). Now I feel the same terror but I don't know where it will come from next. I hate feeling so scared and so powerless.
posted by bas67 at 10:06 PM on September 17, 2001

My gf and I were watching 5 minutes of NBC to catch the weather before heading for work, but instead they cut to the shot of the first building smoking. We had no idea what kind of plane had hit it, but I definitely thought it was a small commuter plane and a terrible accident. Then as they were talking the second plane flew into the view and smashed into #2. Ours mouths dropped, we exclaimed in horror, Carrie started to cry and I said "we're under fucking attack!" Right away I called 3 friends in NYC who I knew worked near the towers. I couldn't get any of them on the phone. Next I called my boss, then my mother in CT, then the receptionist at work to tell her to tell others and turn the TV on.

Finally after about a half an hour of utter shock and horror we both headed out for work. At the bus stop I asked my downstairs neighbor if they had been watching TV, and when they said no I told them what happened. They didn't believe me at all. I had to tell them at least 3 times before they understood how deadly serious I was. During the bus ride I had my eyes fixed on the Hancock tower in Boston. I was convinced that was next. Then a woman got on who I could tell had seen the news. Her wide, shocked eyes looked exactly how mine felt. We began talking and just as we were getting off, my gf called and said, "They got the Pentagon." I passed the news on to the woman I was talking to and we parted ways into a world utterly transformed. By the time I walked into work the 2nd Tower had collapsed.

Turned out that all my friends in NYC were okay, but one guy who works directly across the street posted to another message board at about 8:46: "HOLY SHIT... I think a plane just hit the WTC." His could be the first report of the attack anywhere on the Web.

Truly the scariest, most horrific day I have ever witnessed. And the world hangs in the balance.
posted by Bones423 at 10:22 PM on September 17, 2001

I was in my dorm taking a shower, and a guy ran down the hallway yelling obscenities because his father worked in the world trade center. I then went to class, and realized it would be better for me to go do something outside with friends and come back and figure out what happened when people actually knew what was going on.

And yes, I dislike this site as much as you do.
posted by statusquo at 10:56 PM on September 17, 2001

That's me in a nutshell - a mean, whining, insult-comic. Praise the lord and pass the freaking peanuts.

(Yeah, yeah I know - take it to Metatalk. But it's probably not worth it, and I'm pretty sure I'd get 'toleranced' to death anyway.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:17 AM on September 18, 2001

[At least they aren't sticking American flags in their posts. Now that would be annoying.]

I was at work. It was the afternoon here. We saw it on the Web and laughed about it. What sort of pilot could be so stupid as to run into the World Trade Center? Then the Web traffic got very heavy, we got conflicting little bits of information from various news sites, a London site said it was a big plane, a Toronto site said two planes had hit the towers, and then the laughter started to trail off. At that time of day, I didn't have anyone to go home to, so I left early for the pub. I was the only one there who could speak English, but they turned on CNN and we all watched and drank and watched. And drank.
posted by pracowity at 4:24 AM on September 18, 2001

I'm dual Canadian/American and I'm currently living in Scotland doing job training with people from all over the world, including some Americans.

I'd just come back inside and one of the Americans said "we've been bombed". I didn't understand what he was talking about until he elaborated that a small plane had hit the WTC and it was thought to be a terrorist action. We originally thought that a 2-seater had hit the tower.

We all started checking the news to find that all the sites were bogged down. I hit MeFi to find that it was slow but loadable, and I'm grateful to everyone for posting their news and pictures here - you were our only source of news for a while.

We sat at our desks and reloaded news sources and watched it unfold, crash by crash, collapse by collapse. I was numb after the second plane and don't remember feeling anything at all when the buildings collapsed. It was unfathomable to me how many people were in those buildings.

I remember turning to everyone else and saying "the tower just collapsed" and watching their faces fall into disbelief, and then 3 minutes later having to tell them that the second tower had also fallen.

There are some amazing pictures in the WTC thread - the one of one tower standing, and then a ways below it another picture from the same viewpoint showing no towers standing. Those pictures really brought home to us what had happened.

There's something very odd about being on another continent watching what's happening at home. Luckily here we have excellent news coverage through the BBC.

I miss my family terribly. I'm unbelievably lucky that they're all safe in Canada and Florida. I really appreciate the grassroots reporting and the level of intelligent debate here on MeFi; the news is so impersonal that it's hard to remember the human element.

My thoughts are with you all.
posted by some chick at 5:10 AM on September 18, 2001

I was just south of 23rd St., on Fifth Avenue, about one and one half to two miles from the World Trade Center.

I got off the train at about 9:10, I imagine, and there was a throng of people gathered looking at the smoke filling the sky.

I heard some murmering about the World Trade Center, but didn't believe it. I could actually see the bottoms of the buildings, it seemed and that seemed an impossibility from two miles away and besides, wouldn't I have noticed the World Trade Center before?

Moreover, I could actually see the flames. You can't see flames, I thought, from two miles away. Probably a building on fire nearby. Tragic, of course, but an everyday sort of tragic.

A lot of people were on cell phones. Mine wasn't working. One guy was talking very fast about how terrorists had done it and I quietly laughed at the paranoia. Then someone told me it was two planes, but that they were both small. I was thinking Cessnas.

I got into the office, learned a bit more, then watched out the window as the buildings collapsed.
posted by Sinner at 6:49 AM on September 18, 2001

My alarm went off at 8:30. I had a class at 10:00. For some reason or another, I shut it off instead of hitting snooze. At 10:13, I rolled out of bed, just as my roommate walked in. She greeted me with, "Do you even know what happened?" I looked at her groggily, replied, "No.. I just got out of bed."

She explained it to me. My absolute first thought: this is war. I didn't even try to make it to class.

Numb is the only word for it.
posted by po at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2001

I was up early that day and was hitting all the job boards looking for employment. The first word I got was here on Metafilter. I saw three threads in a row about it and thought to myself WTF? After a brief perusal I quickly turned on the TV and began calling friends, both here in Atlanta and in NYC.

It was surreal. At 9:30, friends were already evacuated from the Bank of America tower and Coca Cola here. It took them an hour to get home because of the traffic. It was like the worst rush hour apparently--all at 10 in the morning. As they were in the car, I watched in horror and consoled a frantic friend whose father and stepmom were in the Marriot hotel right at the WTC.

The world still isn't right. It's like it suddenly shifted a degree or two in one direction. Things still seem to look somewhat as they were, but the perspective is just slightly off.

Not seeing or hearing planes in the sky here for days on end was perhaps the oddest absence.
posted by trox at 7:50 AM on September 18, 2001

I never watch TV in the morning, since I usually sleep until the last possible moment before getting up, getting ready and getting out of the house. I often listen to the news on the radio on my way down to where I catch the bus out to school, but had one of the new Elvis Costello reissues in the player and listened to that instead. No one one the bus said anything; classes haven't started up yet here so it was just the usual uni workers quietly sitting in their usual seats. When a coworker (also clueless) and I got here to our building, we were greeted by another coworker who said, "you have, of course, heard about the World Trade Center." We both went upstairs to the large TV and watched, enthralled and horrified. Back here, I sat glued to mefi. Absolutely stunned.
posted by jaustinspace at 8:11 AM on September 18, 2001

"Dude, did you hear about the terrorists?" That's how I found out - my hip friend Mark stumbled into my French class to get signed out of school and was immediately kicked out by the teacher. She thought he was spreading rumors about terrorists in the school.
posted by GirlFriday at 1:10 PM on September 18, 2001

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