As we moved past the acute stage of the crisis, I had contact with some of my clients as well as with people connected to the church I serve. People were affected to different degrees but no one was critically affected. Then my contact with my family and friends began. These contacts threw me back to 9/11.
Some of the same dynamics of concern from family and friends as well as their connection and involvement in the situation being through me was very present. However, there were also significant differences too. By now, I am losing heat. By now, I am realizing that others are looking to me for leadership. In 2001, I had just moved into my apartment and had no cable or no regular phone.
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In 2001, I was somewhat in the dark about what was going on and whether there was more to be experienced. In 2001, I was not on social media and was out of communication for several days. Similarities and differences between then and now. As I realize how much I was thinking about the previous major event I had lived through, I realize that I am gaining a better understanding of the current situation as well as ideas of how to address the current situation by reflecting on that other interconnected event.
Even as I realize this, I had not yet realized the full significance of my presence here for my family and friends and their need for regular communication.
Then last week, I connected with distant childhood memories. It had been years since I had consciously thought about my classroom in Huntington, Ind. in the mid 1970s. Hearing the stories of lines at the gas station and the shortage that was developing brought back distant childhood memories. I really don't have memories of people trying to get gas. I have some vague memories of talking about the gas crisis in class. While it might have been distant memories, I can now relate to those memories.
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Having strategized about where I was to get gas, I headed out last Friday and planned to stop in Rockland County, N.Y. for gas. Long lines. So I got on one — they ran out of gas. I move to another station — ditto. I get in line for the third one — when I saw the police car coming to make an announcement, I knew what it was before they were close enough to be heard clearly. Hours had passed, so I called in where I was supposed to be going. FEMA was changing their management and so I was to abort my trip and go back to Westchester.