I really didn’t want to go to work today. The thought of being all chipper and sales-y on the 9/11 anniversary just felt wrong. Unfortunately, I was scheduled for closing shift, so after a quiet morning at home, off I went.
I had been hoping that it would be a quiet day, but I was wrong. As I walked through the mall, things were pretty normal. One store (Lucky Jeans) had an American flag out by the door but otherwise it was business as usual. We got pretty much a normal amount of traffic for a week day. I did some paperwork and stockroom work to try to avoid the sales floor. Eventually, out I went and I did my thing, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
I know that here in the Bay Area, 2500 miles from New York City, most people didn’t have the same visceral reaction to 9/11 as I did. It was bad for them, but not in the same deeply painful way as it was for someone like me, a native NYer who spent 3 years working across the street from the World Trade Center.
I kept wanting to ask the women who were strolling through the mall, “How can you just go about your normal lives today? Don’t you know what day it is?” It seemed somehow wrong or disrespectful to be out shopping. It did occur to me that going about one’s normal day is not necessarily bad. If nothing else, it says that the attacks didn’t change how people live their daily lives. And that’s a positive thing.
But for me, the wounds aren’t healed enough yet. It’s too soon for me to treat 9/11 like any other day. Maybe next year, or the year after that, I’ll feel differently. But this year, I really wish I didn’t have to be at work on 9/11.