Saturday, September 01, 2012

An earlier "Saturday September 1" carried heavy foreshadowing --- by a mystery email


Eleven years ago today, September 1, 2001 was a Saturday.  I had just moved to a larger apartment in the same Minneapolis highrise (the Churchill).  In those days, I relied on a Sony Viao quasi-desktop which at the time ran the unstable Windows ME.   When you signed on to AOL (I still used 56K dialup) on the first day of a new month, you got a differently colored background.

A friend in NYC, a pianist and composer,  just went through a move that starts the same day of the calendar.  That reminded me of what would happen eleven years ago. (At the time, I had a Kimball spinet piano from 1952 myself; having it moved wasn't that bad.)

I celebrated my new  life  by going on the road, “upstate Minnesota” to Duluth, and then up into Canada for the “American Labor Day weekend. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but as I arrived at a gay pride festival in Duluth, a bizarre email was appearing in my inbox, shortly after 1 PM EDT that Saturday.

Later that evening, I went on a Lake Superior boat party and cruise (for pride) before going on into Wisconsin for the motel.   I couldn’t get logged on to AOL there with my Compaq Windows 95 laptop.
Sunday, I drove up Highway 61 up the North Shore, and on to Thunder Bay (a favorite place of a girl- friend back in 1971 in my heterosexual dating days of the distant past).  I actually went up to the Ouimet Canyon, came back.  I remember seeing a bizarre story about a lawsuit against Oprah while eating dinner. Back in the motel room, I signed on to AOL OK this time, and had to pay in Canada.  I remember seeing a bizarre email with the “911” or something like that in the title, and deleting it, thinking it was spam or sent by a virus.  I would later learn that others had seen the similar email, which had arrived Saturday.

I would drive back “Labor Day”, which means nothing in Canada.  I would stop at a casino south of Duluth for a moment, back in my libertarian days.  The weather was sunny,  dry and warm. 

Tuesday, September 4, back at work, I’d go out to a Walgreens nearby in downtown Minneapolis, and see (and buy) an issue of Popular Science with a bizarre story about homemade electromagnetic pulse weapons, which the article claimed terrorists could make.  I showed it to a couple of techie co-workers, and they thought the story held water. It was scary.  The story has since completely disappeared, among today’s right-wing warnings about high-altitude EMP blasts from covert missiles stolen and launched by terrorists. 
Thursday and Friday, the workplace (ReliaStar, by then part of ING) would endure a bizarre virus infection from the “Majister” virus, the first time this had ever happened in the workplace. 

Monday, September 10, would be an ordinary enough day – that evening, people in the apartment would play water volleyball in the 33rd floor pool, the only time I saw that.

Tuesday morning, after waking up at 1:30 AM from a bizarre dream about a nuclear attack, I checked some personal plans on AOL (I wanted to go to NYC in October for a weekend seminar on “political films”), turned off the machine, walked the Skyway to work, and even closed some production help tickets right after logging on.  I didn’t learn about 9/11 until a woman appeared in my cubicle at 8:25 AM CDT. 

And we actually went on a “team building” cruise on the St. Croix river that day.  We didn’t cancel.  But for all day, we didn’t know what was happening.

Wikipedia attribution link for Thunder Bay picture (first). 

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