Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Was I On September 11th, 2001

I did not want to take anything away from my tribute to Thomas Patrick Knox, and I hope you have read my post below, and if not, will please do so. I do want to give you my memories of 9/11, and if not for my good friend NOT liking Rosie O'Donnell as much as I do, my memories could have been a lot more complicated...............

I was living in Massachussetts in September of 2001, and working right over the state border in Connecticut as a manager for the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. I had September 11th and 12th scheduled off, and did not have to work until the closing shift on the 13th. With that time, my good friend Steve and I were going to spend a couple of days in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a 5-6 hour car ride, for some fun and relaxation. We made reservations at the MGM, and could check in at noon on the 11th.

I had to close the restaurant on the 10th, so we decided to have Steve meet me at work and leave his car there, and we would leave once I had the restaurant and bar closed up, around 2-3 in the morning. Of course how the it works when the best plans are laid, the bar was extremely busy for some reason that night, and the 1am closing time didnt get all of our customers out until around 1:30, and the cleaning crew that we had to lock in each night, called to say they were running late and would not be in until around 3-3:30.

Steve had taken a nap that night, so he was driving my car and we finally made it on the road about 4 in the morning. To get to Atlantic City from Connecticut, it is fastest and easiest to go through New York City, and then around on the Jersey Garden Parkway. As we were approaching Manhatten, I told Steve that since we can't check in until noon, and we would be there by 9am, we should stop by Rockefeller Center, and try to get standby tickets for the Rosie O'Donnell Show. She was taping at the time at 10am, and if you did not have tickets, you get get in the standby line starting at 7am. Steve knew I was in love with Rosie O'Donnell, because I mentioned things that happened on her show often, but was not really a fan. Not that it matters, but Steve is straight and he used to laugh at me and tell me to get over my gayself and my Rosie O'Donnell obsession, (this was before she actually came out.) After a small debate, I unfortunately/fortunately lost out because possession is 9/10 of the law, and Steve had possession of the steering wheel. We drove around Manhatten at daybreak, checking out the beautiful skyline as it was not quite light out, but looking at all the lights of the city, and the Empire State Building AND the World Trade Center. We saw the last glimpse of that skyline before it was ever changed, at 6:17am, I remember looking at the clock in the car.

We drove thru with just a quick coffee stop and got to Atlantic City around 8:30am. The sun was out, it wasnt warm, but not cool, and we just decided to walk along the boardwalk by the ocean and chat. Steve is great for long coversations. We did notice commotion between people as we were walking, and thought it was odd, but we kept walking towards the MGM. Around 9:30, we walked into the boardwalk entrance of the MGM Grand, oblivious to what was going on less than 150 miles away. The slots seemed more empty than usual but we just figured it was because people were sleeping in and it wasnt as busy mid-week at the casinos. Steve wanted to stop at the first slot machine we saw so he could drop in 20 bucks and see how his luck was going to be for the trip. We sat down at the slots closest to the doors, and each put 20 dollars in the nickle slots "I Dream of Genie" machines and started to play. About 10 minutes into it, a clearly distraught cocktail server was walking by. We were wanting to ask for some coffee, but her distress was visible and I asked her if she was okay. She looked at me weird and said "NO, HOW CAN YOU BE PLAYING SLOTS??" We asked her what she meant and she explained about what happened. Suddenly as we looked around, we realized it was not just empty, it was eerily empty. She pointed us to the huge screen tv's around the corner at the racetrack gaming area where all screens were glued to the Twin Towers, and the mess unfolding across the country. We were dumbstruck and grabbed each other tight. It quickly dawned on us why people were so strange, not only were they trying to figure out what the hell was going on, but are these attacks going to continue and we are sitting in the center of Atlantic City, in one of the tallest hotel/casino's, in one of the most popular resort areas, only 150 miles away from where this was all happening. WERE WE GOING TO BE HIT NEXT???

We spent the rest of that morning watching, waiting, wondering with the rest of America. Steve called his panicked girlfriend and parents. I called my roomates, the boy I was seeing, and my parents who were living in Youngstown Ohio, where flight 93 flew over and was presumed to have started its turn-around back to DC. We couldnt leave, you couldn't get in or out or around NYC and that was our quickest way home. The alternate routes would take us hours out of our way, and still were no guarantee of getting thru. No one really knew what was happening and in that area, didnt want anyone on the streets much at all. Steve and I spent the day together on the phone with loved ones in our room and glued to the television. I think thats the longest stretch of time I havent gambled while being in a casino. We finally ventured out of the room around 9pm, played a little poker just to have some more human interaction and got a little drunk together. I will never, CAN NEVER forget where I was that day, or what COULD have been different if Steve had caved in and let me try to see Rosie O'Donnell. I just got off the phone with Steve, we talk every year for sure on this day and a few other times scattered throughout the year. He is still in Massachussettes, new girlfriend, now wife. We are forever bonded over this date in history, September 11th, 2001........God Bless America.....Respectfully..Scott aka The Gay I am purposely not adding pictures from the event, I think we have seen them enough in 5 years, and it only seems to bring back pain.....GG



Wow GG, thanks for sharing. That is quite a story. I left a "I remember Sept 11th" post, also for today... and my take on it-- of course-- has a political tinge to it. But I can't help it. We all lost so damn much on that day, and I'm furious over what we the people have lost since that day. It is just so damned awful... the whole lot of it.
And your post about Thomas Knox was wonderful... and oddly enough, he looks like so many Irish Catholic boys I went to Catholic high school with.


Pretty fascinating stuff!

Here's my tale:


Wow! Thanks GG for sharing, you know, I have my own story, but I still have yet to share it, it's just...still difficult. I'm glad though that some people can, who knows..maybe next year on my blog I will. Once again thanks for letting us into that "part" of your life. ;-) peace

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