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Priorities

May 1, 2009

I sometimes find my thoughts drifting to 9/11, especially now, since I’m working in the building beside the WTC and walk by the site every day. What those people must have felt. The terror. The confusion. Scary stuff. I’m not one to drag out dramatic events in my life, but last week I think I got a little taste of how scared everyone was 7 years ago.

I was sitting at the front desk of Kaplan. The day had just started, so I was casually reading up on my daily blogs. All of a sudden a group of 5 or 6 employees ran by me, into the lobby, and frantically said, “A big plane just circled our building twice! I don’t know if you should call someone, but we’re getting OUT of here!”

They were scared, so I was scared. I said “NO, I’m leaving with y’all!” Yup, I let the “y’all”  slip out in the panic. I always wondered if I’d act heroically in a dangerous situation. Now I can sadly say, no, I don’t think that I would.  I didn’t call anyone to let them know they might want to evacuate. I didn’t even call the office manager. I just ran. Would I have stopped to help someone in a wheelchair? I don’t know. I just ran. Out of the building. On to the streets. Where everyone was standing around. Looking up. On their cell phones, confused.  Crazy theories were being tossed around from person to person like common knowledge. All of which, it turns out, were actually true.

I looked over to my left…at the big, empty, sad construction site. I couldn’t help but think how eerie it was. It was almost an exact repeat of what the employees of the financial district went through 7 years ago. We were all standing on the same streets, thinking about just how normal the day seemed an hour ago.

Thankfully, it was a false alarm. A careless error of judgement by someone with too much power. But the experience has really made me realign my priorities. I’m visiting Carolina next week for a dose of smiling faces and beautiful places. I miss my friends and family. And palmetto trees and flip flops. And salty air and pluff mud. Oh, I love New York–but the things I’m learning about myself here…

low-flying-plane

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kelly Gatling permalink
    May 9, 2009 3:50 pm

    I’m sorry that that happened to you. That sounds really scary.

    I miss you too. And so does the pluff mud.

  2. Kelly Gatling permalink
    May 9, 2009 4:01 pm

    Alsoo….

    as scary as this is, I still laugh whenever I think back to that conversation we had about our fears. Mine…rapists, tornadoes, and spiders. Yours…a terrorist attack!

  3. June 2, 2009 4:09 pm

    Hi. What a frightening moment. Really glad it was a “false alarm”.
    We are finding TONS of stories where folks are realigning their priorities for various reasons. I think your story would really strike a chord.
    If you would ever consider sharing it, please visit us at ahamoment.com.
    Thanks and best of luck to you.

    –Mike
    mike@ahamoment.com

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