Ten years ago today, my first wife and I were in the process of moving into our new unfurnished student apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We had rented a moving truck and driven over to the house of a friend, who had generously offered us an old piece of furniture. My wife rang the bell and we waited a minute or two. Then my friend came running down the stairs, slightly flustered and dishevelled. “I’m sorry I took so long,” she said, panting a little. “I was watching the news.”
“The… news?” We looked at each other.
“Oh my God, you haven’t heard! Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. It’s collapsed.”
“Two planes!” I said. “Then it must have been deliberate.”
“Yeah, they think it’s Osama bin Laden.”
“Huh,” I said. “Wow.” I paused for a few seconds, saying “Wow” and “Huh” a few more times. Then I shrugged my shoulders and said “Well, let’s get back to moving.”
This was not, I would soon learn, the way most Americans reacted to the same news. Continue reading