I know exactly where I was on March 20, 2003.
I was just beginning to date someone and we went out to dinner. The television in the restaurant was on and there George W. Bush was, announcing that he was sending in troops to Iraq.
“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “It’ll get over and done with and that will be that.”
That will be that.
In one of my classes last semester, we talked about the wars. The Afghanistan War and the Iraq War. I asked one of my students how old they were when it all happened and ten of them said, eight. They were eight years old. They were eighteen, then, sitting in my classroom, looking at me like I had even half of the answers.
During a class discussion, where we were just discussing anything we wanted to, really, someone asked me if I really thought Osama Bin Laden was dead. I didn’t know how to answer the question, so I let them out ten minutes early.
Flying over Thanksgiving, I was wearing my keffiyeh, which is a fancy word for scarf. Arabic men wear them. About 1 billion people across the whole of the planet wear them. But, because I chose to wear one on a plane, I got the extended version of the pant down, complete with the body scan.
A random conversation with a friend of mine, we discuss the Mosque in New York close to Ground Zero.
“If enough white people were Muslim, this wouldn’t be happening.”
“That’s a generalization,” I said.
“Yeah,” he said. “It is. It’s also true.”
On the Metro, a man leaves his bag for a split second and heads for the doors. I almost panic, almost feel the tension in my chest, almost feel like, at any moment, there will be an explosion and we’ll all die. But then he remembers that he forgot his bag, turns and grabs it, exits the train right when the doors close and I feel like an idiot.
This weekend I tell my roommate to keep her phone on.
“For what?” she asked. And then she thought for a second.
“Oh.” she said. “Yeah. You’re right. Ok.”
The purpose of terrorism is to make people afraid. And the terror attacks ten years ago did that. Whether we want to admit it or not, the terrorists won a long, long time ago. And the fact that we spend all day and think about what happened proves that point, sadly.