Mixed Plate
September 11th

Still Incomprehensible

Do you remember what you were doing on September 11, 2001 when you heard the news of the World Trade Center (WTC)/Pentagon disasters? I do.

I was working late the previous night and went to bed around 3 AM (just missing the bulletin on TV). At 4:30 AM, I groggily responded to a phone call from a coworker. In my morning stupor, I couldn't comprehend what he was saying until I flicked on the television and saw the smoking buildings.

Oh my God! I knew immediately that I woke up into a different world.

My wife and I work at the same place, so we quickly decided that to minimize the possibility of orphaning our daughter, we were going to work in different locations. We were that concerned.

When my daughter (age 6) awoke, I explained to her the situation as best I could. She was a trooper, but I donít think she understood the magnitude of the events at the time.

Traffic was an absolute nightmare, with military bases around the island going through extreme measures to maintain security. Gave an extra hug to my daughter before dropping her off at school. The day was exhausting, with lots of uncertainty and concern.

Now, besides airline hijacking, many other terrorist threats loom, including anthrax, crop dusters, missing explosives, bridge destruction, even nuclear disaster.

So how does this all relate to surfing and Hawaii? Well, the repercussions have been severe on both fronts.

For one thing, it has directly affected some surfers. I know of one pro surfer who lost a stepbrother who worked on the 105th floor of one of the WTC's. There's a story about another surfer who skipped work to catch a swell--he worked in the WTC. You may think itís so far away and you are so detached. However, surfers just like you and me have been affected.

But the effects go well beyond the attacks themselves. The U.S. and world economies have spiraled downward due to the uncertainty. Hawaii, which has a tourist-based economy, has had a terrible recession with lots of layoffs. People are just afraid to fly and spend money. It's been crazy.

Of course, the surf industry has taken huge hits. The local shops are suffering with slow business. It will be really interesting how this North Shore season will play out.

The waves will continue to roll in as always. But life will never be the same.