Katie Notopoulos: Mad Internet Scientist

The night of 9/11, I called a recent ex-boyfriend around 11pm.

“I just don’t think you should be alone tonight….” I said in my faux-concern for his well-being.   He wasn’t taking the bait, and understandably he didn’t want to risk the subway ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan.   Rejected.

I called another ex who lived out of town and I had a strained relationship with. I assumed his first thoughts that day would have been about moi, and he’d be desperate to know if I was alive.

“I just wanted you to know that I’m ok.”

“Yeah.  I wasn’t worried.  Um, don’t call me anymore, ok?”

I couldn’t get laid to save my life.  The terrorists had won.

On top of that, someone had come over earlier that day and taken a giant toilet-clogging shit in our toilet.  We all blamed this one girl who had come over after she had to flee her own apartment.  For years I was angry at her; I accused her of domestic terrorism on the bathroom homefront to countless others.   The towers were falling; I was plunging away at the porcelain throne.

Only today, did Morgan come forward and admit she was the toilet clogging culprit.  Morgan, I still love you, but you’re the Osama bin Laden of indoor plumbing.

Sara and Neal both talked about how they felt that they could leave the city to the safety of relatives in the suburbs – that they felt that they were tied to the fate of the city.  I also felt that way; a sense that it was our ship we was destined to go down with.

This is the emotion that’s hardest to explain because it sounds very silly when I imagine saying it out loud, is that I thought I was going to die, and I was ok with it.  A heady mix of survivor’s guilt, fear, and the flood of admiration for heroics made a cocktail of emotions that ended up as some flukewarm Long Island ice tea of a Final Destination sequel.

I felt an irrational feeling that I could do something – that I could help. I could go down there and save someone. I think that’s a kind of narcissism; thinking that I would be the person who could make a difference.   I blame it on the emotional damage of seeing too many R-rated action movies at a young age and thinking I might be a John McClane or a Sarah Connor – I could be the ordinary person who might save the day.

*images by katie*

After the second tower fell, I left our apartment on 13th street and headed south down 3rd Ave, past throngs of people still heading up. Past the Williamsburg bridge and Manhattan bridges were tons of people were crossing over.  I headed to the Foley Square near the courthouses. A small crowd had gathered around some EMTs, who had laid out stretchers and supplies, getting ready to head in to look for survivors.

The head EMT was calling out to the crowd asking if there was any doctors (no), anyone with medical training (no), anyone who knew CPR (finally a few hands raised).


What’s haunted me for so long about that desperate attempt to gather medical workers and supplies was that they weren’t going to find anyone. Those people who knew CPR weren’t going to save anyone.  The stretchers were no use.  One of the weirdest twists of that day is that there were practically no living people who were pulled out.   At 1pm that day, I was sure there would be tons of people who would make it out alive.

I got a few blocks further before an army soldier with a machine gun stopped me; no one could go further south. The end of the block he guarded was a wall of smoke; its unlikely I could’ve entered it anyway.  I was just about 3 blocks from the World Trade Center, there was nothing I could see but a cloud of smoke and empty streets.

I headed west along Chambers Street to the pedestrian walkway over West St to Stuyvesant high school.  There were a handful of people milling around, watching fire trucks and military vehicles driving down. I watched the news on a TV someone had set up outside a deli. I realized I was no Sarah Connor.  I couldn’t do anything.

I went to Washington Sq, where I knew there was a 1-hour photo to develop the film I had been taking. A very handsome young guy ran in and announced he was with the Washington Times and needed his film developed right away.  I tried chatting him up a bit; as I said, he was very handsome.

No dice.  Like I said, I couldn’t get laid to save my life on September 11.

Katie Notopoulos has an inordinate amount of blogs.  She does something very grown up and respectable for a living, but it’s nowhere near as hilarious as sorryImissedyourparty.com.  She lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend Eric and I wish she would come visit so we could go to Magic Mountain.

Feed Me Seymour