Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September 11, 2001, Part 3, Other Orphans

Since Part Two of this four part series of posts was published back in July, here, and the first installment was published the day before, scroll down from the link, you might want to go back and refresh.

This part starts on Wednesday morning, September 12, 2001. I woke up and looked around the room. As I said it faced inward in the Sheraton toward a two story courtyard. I’d left the blinds open and walked over to the floor to ceiling window. The courtyard with the lobby area, lounge and restaurant was for the most part deserted.

I turned on the TV. CNN was running what I’d seen the night before, interspersed with newer reports. Then Mayor Giuliani was a major presence. The President was, I think back in Washington, DC. It was that day or the next that he gave the best speech of his life. Thinking back, I wish he had done a poorer job as his vows to avenge us led us to where we are today in Iraq.

I brewed a baby pot of generic coffee and watched television. About eight or so, I put on my one white shirt and my suit pants and wandered downstairs. Opening the door, there was no newspaper, I guess I shouldn’t have expected one.

I went to the sundries shop off the lobby, there I found a September 12, 2001 New York Times and New York Post. I bought them and a “I Love New York” gray tee-shirt. Still have the tee-shirt. I gave the papers to a friend who is into collectibles.

I went into the café and got a table, in the smoking section (yes I do and back then for those of you that don’t remember, they had sections of restaurants where they allowed you to spew fumes). There was no TV. I ordered some food and drank coffee, read the papers and smoked.

I’m not used to leisurely breakfasts, indeed, I don’t eat breakfast unless I’m traveling or on an occasional weekend morning. That Wednesday, I had plenty of time.

So did all of the other people that were milking the time in the café.

Across the aisle there was a couple doing the same thing I was. I’d glanced at them a couple of times as I ate. There are certain people that strike you as, I’m not sure I’m using the right word, but as special. They looked to be in their mid to late fifties. They were perfectly dressed. Nothing “special” but, their clothes and manner shouted sophistication. Both of them had something that I call “alive eyes.” Their eyes were piercing, not in an invasive way. They took the world in. I know that this description does not explain what I saw and felt.

We happened to give up on sitting and sipping coffee at the same time and walked to the host station/cashier at the same time. The man or woman, I’m not remembering, said “I saw you reading the paper, we didn’t have one outside the room?”

I said, “neither did I, they had them in the sundries shop, it’s down that way, I’d give you these, but I thought I’d save them.” They understood.

We paid, and I, or one of them said, “stuck here, how about you?” as we walked toward the shop. I or they said, yeah, can’t get any information on when travel is possible. I left them at the entrance to the shop.

Days didn’t have much meaning that week. This next little story, may have been that day or on Thursday. I mentioned that I was supposed to be in Kentucky on Friday for a hearing in U.S. District Court. I finally reached the opposing lawyer and explained where I was and the strong probability that I wouldn’t be with him on Friday. He asked me to hang on for a moment so he could have his secretary try to call the Judge’s Chambers and get us a telephone conference with the Judge. He came back on and we talked about what had been happening to us that week.

Abruptly, he said “my secretary has the Chambers on the other line, hold on.” A few clicks and he said “Your Honor this is Joe and Dave, thank you for taking our call.”

The Judge was a Southerner and talked liked one. “Dave, I understand you have a problem appearing on Friday morning?”

“Yes Your Honor, as best as I can tell right now, it doesn’t look good for getting there.”

“Well, Joe, seeing as to the circumstances, do you have any objection to continuing the hearing until a further date?”

“No Your Honor, I don’t have any problem with that at all.”

Well then, the hearing will be continued until a date to be set, Dave, you let us know when you are back home, OK?”

“Yes Your Honor, I will, thank you.”

“Oh, Dave?”

“Yes Your Honor?”

“You take care, OK?”

“Yes Your Honor, thank you again.”

This has gone on a bit, so we are expanding the series. Next, Part Four, the Couple and Maybe the Guy.”


Ryan said...

Dave, that was a striking post. I'm going to have to get caught up here....

If someone was to ask me something about you - one of the first things I would have assumed was you probably didn't smoke. I have much to learn still...

Jeni said...

Well now, at least it can't be said that there are no judges who can see reasoning, logic, common sense and the like. Keep the words coming, Dave.

fermicat said...

This brings back memories of being stranded far from home that week. It was surreal.