Remembering Fear

I just cleaned out a cupboard in my kitchen that was full of food storage water. I wanted to put away some small appliances in a more convenient place, so I decided to start drinking the water, but it was disgusting. I checked the dates, wondering when I bought it, then realized it was about 8 years old. Oh yeah. I remember. Living in Washington D.C. in the season of fear. I moved to D.C. in the summer of 2001, studied for the bar, then started at a law firm located next door to the FBI building on September 1. Two weeks into my adult career I joined people gathered around a t.v. watching footage of planes crashing into the twin towers. When the plane crashed into the Pentagon, a sr. partner walked into the room and told us to evacuate. “Don’t drive, the bridges are closed. Don’t take the metro.” Huh? I had no idea what to do. I walked into a friend’s office and just stared. ”I don’t know what to do” I gulped. Ever the practical one, she called around and got in touch with a friend who lived nearby. We grabbed our bags and started walking. The streets were packed, and about a block away from the office, there was a horrible snarl with police lights flashing everywhere. A van had been abandoned in the middle of the road, and everyone was nervous that it contained a bomb. We walked past quickly. Further up the road I ran into an LDS friend from law school. He was just standing on the curb wondering what to do. We invited him to join us. We stopped to loan a cell phone to a sobbing woman who was trying to contact her children. Finally we reached the house of the” friend of the friend of the friend” and sat in her living room watching t.v. for hours. At one point my friend from work walked down to the CVS to buy snacks for the full house. She still laughs about running into a gay couple who were also shopping for food, and says they talked about finding comfort in the fact that despite national security emergencies, it was still important to be a good host. I finally made my way home by the now-running metro and like the rest of America sat glued to my t.v. all day.

Suddenly having food storage seemed an imperative.

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