Tribute Part 2: 9/10/01

This is one of thousands of stories of September 11, 2001. This one is true. And mine. Please share yours in the comments. I’ll repost some of them in the blog. I’m going to post my story of that day, and the subsequent days that are part of my 9/11 story, in pieces this week. What qualifies my story as a “tribute”? I’m not sure that anything does. But I believe in the power of telling stories to remember the past. In that, I hope, there’s an element of honor to those who were lost.

My 9/11 story starts on 9/10. I collapsed into bed that night declaring, definitively, “This has been the worst day ever.”

Monday, September 10 started with a gushing pipe in the bathroom of my newly rented apartment in Astoria. Our Greek mafia landlord’s wife instructed us to turn off the water and wait, as the landlord was out fishing.

This was the moment I learned about New York landlord-tenant advocacy etiquette. (Read: I yelled at her and bandied about comments about my fictional “lawyer” until she agreed to either pay for a plumber or get her husband off the freaking lake.) To put it all in context, my roommates and I had spent all weekend assembling Ikea furniture and moving boxes. We were tired, we were stressed out, and we all needed hot showers.

A few hours into my annoying day, juggling phone calls to the landlord with emails to overdramatic fashion designers at my still very new job at Saks Fifth Avenue, I got a migraine. I pushed through until I could no longer see my computer screen, then finally told my boss I needed to leave. By this stage, I was nearly blind, ready to vomit, and praying for death. (Don’t judge. Have you ever had a migraine?) I tried to hail a cab to speed my journey home. Rain + Park Avenue = Jen took the subway home. I finally collapsed into bed, suffering, exhausted and desperate for complete silence.

Ten minutes later my landlord and his sister (the “broker”) walked in. Take every stereotype of Queens accents you’ve seen on TV, triple them, and you have my landlord’s family. (He required we pay the deposit for our apartment in cash. We handed him nearly $6,000 in $20 bills, and he stuffed it down his pants.) The sister walked into my room and screamed at seeing me. I grumbled something, got up and locked the door. Heavily medicated, I finally fell asleep.

Enter the 11th

To be continued…

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