Last night I watched a documentary on 9/11. I made it all the way through the disaster, but couldn’t continue watching when the firefighters started digging through the rubble. I read a number of blog posts today about the events of five years ago. My personal memories of that day are unimportant, but remembering our own stories must be better than watching those terrible moments replayed over and over.

Five years ago I woke up very early because I had to be at a school in the hills by 8:15. Once I had stopped by work to pick up supplies, I turned on NPR like I did every morning. It was apparent that something was wrong. I live on the West Coast, so it must have been very early, because the towers were still standing.

I had the worst time staying awake during that long drive to school as I listening to the unfolding disaster. When I finally got to the parking lot I put my head down on the steering wheel. I was so tired and wanted to keep listening. After a few minutes I woke up, disoriented and late for my first presentation.

I spent the rest of the day in the classroom, hopefully distracting the kids with science. It seemed bizzare to not be talking about what was happening, but what could we say to these children that were not our own?

The strange thing was that after that day I started drinking caffeine again. I had given up caffeine because it contributed to my anxiety and insomnia. It had taken me a long time and a lot of resolve. After that day I concluded that if I didn’t start drinking caffeine I was going to fall asleep one morning while driving. I never thought about my drowsing as something unusual, but I had never had a problem like that before. Why did I change my life in response to that day without even giving it a second thought? Maybe there was a part of my mind that wanted to fall back to sleep, wanted that morning to be a dream. My spirit rejected the reality of those events, seeking instead to wake again on an ordinary morning, an ordinary day.