Facing down the what ifs

I Emerge From My New York hotel room, step out into the corridor, nearly tripping over the newspaper that has been tossed in front of my door. The headlines shout up at me: warnings of another imminent terrorist attack.

Instantly, my peaceful day becomes less peaceful. My stomach, which has been giving me a hunger signal, knots up ever so slightly. The what ifs begin. What if something happens, and I'm up here on the 16th floor? What if my dear friends and coworkers who are staying on the 38th floor can't get out? What if we can't clear the city and head back to Boston? What if terrorists plan an attack on the train we're taking? What if friends and family members back home come under attack?

Why do we have to deal with this? After all, we're here, my colleagues and I, on legitimate business—to attend a seminar, to learn to do what we do better, because we love what we do.

November 26, 2001

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