Monday, September 11, 2006

5 years.

Because I live in Atlantic Canada, just northeast of the US northeast, the weather on September 11, 2001 in my town was just about exactly like it was in New York City and in Washington, DC, that day: sunny, warm, and beautiful.

I walk to work every day - it's only a few blocks. I crossed the street - the better to catch the sun - and strolled down the sidewalk in the incredibly beautiful golden sunshine of a September morning. As I did, the little white terrier owned by the nice gay couple across the street and one house over, who'd been taken into the front yard by one of "the boys" for his morning constitutional, caught sight of a squirrel on their front lawn.

Suddenly, both dog and squirrel darted across the sidewalk in front of me - squirrel, running hell-bent for its life, dog, running hell-bent after it. And there was, at the same time, a car, driving too fast - as the commuters who use our street as a conduit to the downtown government and office district always do - roaring down the street.

It all happened in a fraction of a second. The squirrel darted across the street, the dog was blindly following it, oblivious to the white Chevrolet. The dog's owner, still on the front step, shouted. Shrieked, really, like you would. The car's driver hit the brakes - hard. The brakes squealed in agony. I was absolutely certain I was witnessing the traumatic death of a neighbourhood pet before my eyes.

But the driver stopped just inches before the dog met certain death, and the dog continued on to the opposite sidewalk, where the squirrel had scurried up a tree, the dog leaping around the trunk, barking madly. The Chevy's driver collected his wits, shook his head and drove on. I exchanged a few words with my frightened but relieved neighbour from across the street as he stormed over to his errant puppy and scolded him. And I continued on to work, under a crystal-clear blue sky. And I thought, swear to god, as clear as you ever think a sentence aloud in your head:

"Holy cow, this almost turned out to be a very bad day."

The irony, in retrospect, is breathtaking.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home