I experienced the events of Sept 11, 2001, entirely via IRC. Later in the morning, when CNN.com came back up, I got the little bit of news, as it trickled in, from that site, and also from Boston.com.
So that morning was even more surreal than it might have been had I seen footage on television, or heard it on the radio. I saw digital photos from people living in Manhattan. I saw pictures from a webcam pointing at the Pentagon. I watched as people described what they were hearing and seeing on the news, and discussed various theories of what was going on.
After the second plane hit the trade towers, discussion changed pretty fast. It was clear that it was not an accident. Although, for a while, a number of people disputed the report of the second plane, saying that people were confused, and hearing the first report again.
There was the report of a car bomb at the Smithsonian. Or perhaps it was a the White House. Or at the State Department. And there was clearly something buring at the Pentagon, but nobody knew what that was about.
Then the towers fell. This was monumentally hard to believe. Surely this was not being reported accurately. But then there were photos. Loading painfully slowly, but there were the pictures. It was gone. And then the other one was gone.
Meanwhile, we had work to do. We had a deadline. Ken was sitting numbly, unable to work. I was trying to work, but could not. What could it possibly matter that this customer get their insignificant web site done?
Later in the day, the customer had the nerve to say that they believed that the events of the day would help their cause (political action bloodsuckers), and I almost hung up on them. This was the moment when I started passionately hating this customer, and the main reason that I was not sorry when they dropped their contract.
I’m currently trying to track down someone that has a transcript of #perl (rhizomatic.net) from that morning, since I appear to have lost mine.