I don’t think much about the Fall of 2002. It’s hard to avoid the anniversary of September 11th, but that was just the beginning of the terror. A week later, the post office that handled all of my office mail was closed because of anthrax. People were getting sick (and dying) from the mail. We had to open envelopes wearing rubber gloves,* just to be safe. People were talking about dirty bombs, and I carried Cipro with me to work.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt on edge for months after these two events. Honestly, I don’t know if I ever relaxed enough for things to feel “back to normal.” Then, just over a year later, the shootings began. They were completely random: gender, race and age didn’t seem to matter. I tried to tell myself not to feel paranoid, but the fact was that people were being hunted. It was awful. I thought twice about taking a walk during my lunch break. I was nervous about pumping gas. My husband picked me up at the train station so I didn’t have to make the long walk to my car in a parking lot surrounded by trees.
Today that chapter is scheduled to close, but I don’t feel any closure. In fact, I don’t feel much of anything at all.
I try not to think about those events. I am so damn tired of feeling terrorized. That whole mentality of “go on with your everyday life so the terrorists don’t win” is just crap. You go on with life because it’s life. The memories of fear and anger are always inside somewhere.
I just choose to focus on happiness and optimism instead.
*Comic relief: When my coworker bought gloves for opening the mail, she bought the powdered kind. How are we supposed to look for white powder in the mail if we’re wearing gloves covered with white powder? It was just what we needed to break the tension and stress. We laughed until we had tears in our eyes. Ok, maybe you had to be there.