Tag: Personal

End of the Road?

Posted by – November 2, 2008

Many moons ago, I would have never thought twice about going over a bridge and an overpass.   As a matter of fact, I use to get a kick out of going over something like the Seven-Mile Bridge in the Keys or one of those towering expansion bridges like the San Francisco Bridge.  I didn’t have many experiences with big high-rise or multiple overpasses because everything in Florida was fairly low to the ground but they always looked cool.

All that changed in 2004 when, after Hurricane Ivan blew through, I saw this.  An interstate out over water, a bridge, blown apart by…. wind.

It got me thinking about just how safe (or unsafe) these things are.  I guess I always pictured them welded together and then reinforced by tons of cement so there was never any fear that anything would ever happen to them (or me) while driving on one. 

In 2006, about 5 months after Hurricane Katrina, I went to Biloxi, Mississippi to visit some friends who were working there.  One day I decided to check out the area so I drove down Beach Boulevard to Gulfport, did a ubee, and went back the other direction (along the beach and past my hotel) toward Ocean Springs.  I stopped off on the side of the road and at the beach a few times to enjoy the weather, take in the scenery, and take some photos, but just as I neared the road that led over the bay to Ocean Springs, I realized the road was gone.  Blown apart and dumped into the bay just like the one in Pensacola.

Then in August 2007, the bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapse during rush hour.  No storm involved.  No wind.  Just… traffic. 

Since then, crossing bridges has been a bit unsettling.  The cool-ness has been replaced by white knuckles.  Unfortunately, most times you don’t have any choice but to cross over (or under) one of these structures when driving to or from your destination so out of necessity I do it but I don’t like it.

I bring this up now because, as you may know, I’m currently in Texas and there are bridges and tons of those high-rise highways and overpasses all over.  I cringe when I leave my hotel because I know that no matter where I’m off to, I’ll be going over or under one (or many) of these structures.  For this reason I keep my eyes on the road, my hands on the wheel, and the pedal to the metal.   I stay aware of my surroundings and the traffic so if anything happens, I’ll be the one driving (or climbing) up over everyone else to get to safe ground.  LOL!

Go ahead.  Say it.  I’m a wuss!

Where were you…?

Posted by – September 11, 2008

Our lives are made up of a series of events that shape us into the people we become.  Some events may seem monumental and some may seem rather insignificant but as the memories fade we’re left with those life lessons, new experiences, emotional growths, etc.  Then there are those events that take place which may not directly affect us but forever remains engraved in our memories.  The ones that take you back to exactly where you were and what you were doing when that event took place.

Today is the 7th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in which thousands of people from the U.S. and 90 other countries lost their lives.  Workers in the two World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and the passengers on the 4 hijacked flights comprised nearly 3,000 of those.  Firefighters, police officers, paramedics and EMTs responding to the disaster also lost hundreds.  Along with the horrific and haunting images of that day, I also remember exactly what I was doing when it happened.

That morning I had gone to the Peabody Hotel to cable and set up high-speed internet access in one of the convention halls for a group coming down from New York.  As the booth areas were designated I was able to run cables to each and put connectors on the ends.  Meanwhile, Marykay (telecommunications for the hotel) had come in to run phone lines to the booths as well.  As we were preparing to tape our cables down, someone came running into the room and announced that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.

My mother was a flight attendant for American Airlines and I had no idea at that moment where she was so before I had a chance to consciously react, I felt the blood drain from my head and a lump came into my throat.  We sat frozen for a moment.  Then I remembered my laptop.  We all ran over to the side of the room where I had the laptop and a live internet connection.  I went to CNN.com and skimmed the breaking news.  The initial report said “commuter plane” so I breathed a sigh of relief.  Mom didn’t fly in commuter planes.

A second later my cell phone rang and it was my mother.  When I answered she said “It’s not me!  It’s not me!  I’m not on the plane!”  I didn’t know she was in New York but I assured her I wasn’t worried because I knew she didn’t fly commuter flights.  That’s when she dropped the bomb…. “It wasn’t a commuter, it was an airliner.”

When I passed that news on to the rest of the room gathered around, there was complete silence.  Then came the crying and frantic cell phone calls to friends, co-workers, and loved ones.  About that time another person came in to announce a second plane had crashed into the second tower.  By this time the guys working in the hall next door had a huge screen set up and television signal connected to the projector so we all stood in the room and watched the horror unfold before us.  I will never forget the looks on everyone’s faces as they stood motionless, staring in disbelief.  It was surreal.

While I was extremely relieved that my mother was safe, I was heartbroken… am still heartbroken over what happened that day.  Please take a moment today to remember all who lost their lives that day and those they left behind whose lives were forever changed.

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