My 9/11 Memory

  1. My then-fiancé, now-wife was on a business trip to Chicago. So the night before, I stayed up late watching tons of porn.
  2. A friend who knew about my years of chronic insomnia had given me Ambien. I'd never taken any type of sleeping pill before and decided to give it a shot.
    (It wasn't until about five years later that it occurred to me that it might not be the most relaxing thing to watch awful, soul-crushing pornography right before bedtime.)
  3. I had the deepest sleep of my life.
  4. The next morning, I was jarred out of my sleep by the phone ringing and ringing. I finally managed to pull myself out of my coma and answer. It was my wife, from Chicago.
    She said "AARON THEY ATTACKED THE PENTAGON AND THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND EVERYTHING'S ON FIRE AND THEY SAY THEY'RE ATTACKING CHICAGO NEXT!!!"
  5. I could not process what was happening. I turned on the TV just in time to see the towers fall.
  6. I decided they were probably going to attack Los Angeles next, so I told my wife I was going to drive a few hours north and stay in a motel while she figured out how to get out of Chicago.
    She ended up coming back to LA by train a few days later. I was no help, because I was a terrible person.
  7. I drove and drove in a pretty-much non-stop anxiety attack, stopping only to buy a bottle of whiskey and some porn mags.
    Because for much of my adult life, those were the "tools" in my "utility belt": Booze and porn.
  8. I found a horrible motel and rented a room with a gross stain on the wall. There I sat, drinking and watching CNN until I passed out.
  9. Although I am now healthier, stronger and no longer a terrible person, I am STILL too terrified to ever take Ambien again, believing on some level that I will wake up to the End Of The World.