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8/20/2003

 
| Wichita Lineman



It has been almost two years since the horrific events of September 11, 2001 but its impact on me did not manifest itself until last week.

Osama, it took you two years to get to me; but you did.

And that pisses me off.

Let me explain:

Last Thursday I had to drive over 200 miles to another city for a business trip. I was on the interstate and listening to talk radio. It was a beautiful sunny day.

Then the blackout hit.

The radio went dead and my cell phone stopped working. Eventually the radio comes back on with a special report indicating that there had been a massive power outage. Reports were unclear at the time, and the news anchor was stating that it appeared to affect the entire country (Later I learned it only reached the Northeast).

I tried to call my wife on the cell, but the cells were down.

The news reported that due to the power outage gas pumps were not working. The few pumps that were working had lines of over 100 cars waiting to fill up. I only had a quarter tank of gas -- enough to get to my destination but not enough to turn around and go home. . .

I finally got a hold of my wife on the phone and we filled each other in what we had learned; which at that time it wasn't much. I tell her I love her and to be careful driving home. I hang up the phone and I start to get scared.

Is this terrorism? Are we being attacked? And if we have no power and no gas how will I get home? How will I reach my wife? Are there enough batteries and food in the house? How will my wife be able to handle the house alone? How will my wife protect herself if there are looters. . . etc., etc. so on and so forth. . .

In my mind's eye I had visions of a Mad Max post apocalyptic world without electricity where I was forced to walk the 200 miles back home. . .

By the time I reached my destination I was distraught with worry. Traffic lights are down so the roadways are snarled with traffic. All I can do is sit and wait.

Eventually we learn from news reports that this was a simple (yet far reaching) old fashioned power-grid blackout. Just too many air conditioners running at once and an antiquated power grid. In fact George W. was in California living it up at a high priced fundraiser at the same time I was freaking out in my car.

Twelve hours later and the power was back on and life returned to normal.

In retrospect, it seems foolish to have panicked. So why did I? I doubt that before 9/11 I would have had such a violent reaction.

That is the beauty of terrorism. It eats at you. It turns your psyche against you and aren't even aware it's happening.

Before the blackout, 9/11 did not have much influence on my daily life (thank God) Sure, I had to take my shoes off at the airport and was no longer allowed to bring shopping bags into my local mall movie theater but these were merely inconveniences.

The blackout, something that shouldn't have been anything more than a slight blip on my life, created a real scare for me -- thanks to Osama and crew who planted the seed in my head two years ago. . .

It is unsettling to know that terrorism can do that.





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