Life has taken on a spiritual nature since Sept. 11. You know what I'm talking about. When you think about death — when you can really imagine your own death — then every day that you're alive becomes an event to be cherished.
I'm grateful for my family, for neighbors, for all the positive things that have sprung up since the terrorist atrocity like unity, patriotism, caring about other people, our nation's emphasis on real heroism. I'm thankful for my job.
This column is about returning to work. Here in Akron at Plastics News, we listened to the horror on the radio, checking the Internet on the computers at our desks. Finally, around noon, we remembered there's a television in a conference room upstairs and went up to watch.
We — all of America — went to bed that night. We turned off the TV, turned off the lights and wondered: Will something bad happen tomorrow?
I was scared the next day. A surrealistic fog settled in that still hasn't lifted, three weeks after the atrocity. I tried not to cry in front of my young children. Then I jumped in the shower to get ready for work.
Work hard. Donate blood. Pray. Write a check. Keep living. Go back to work.
Get ready for work. There's something so soothing about that. Years ago, when my dad died, and I returned to my job, I flashed back to seeing him sitting on the steps leading to the basement, tying up his heavy work shoes. Then he plods out the door to the factory, or farther back in time, the coal mine and it's the Great Depression or World War II.
That memory returned in days after Sept. 11, while I dressed for work. These morning chores take on an intense focus in these dark days. The routines are comforting: Shower, shave, pick out a tie, a pair of shoes, coffee.
Everyday activities are mundane no more, whether you work on Wall Street or a fast-food joint. You put on your uniform and get out the door. Once at work, you might stare into space a few times, but then you get back to the tasks at hand.
How grateful I am, not only to live in these United States of America, but also to have a job to give each day some direction.
OK, now that we're all back to work, airport safety is the talk of the business world. Surely, airport security has to be nationalized. At Cleveland Hopkins Airport, it was normal to see the people who run the X-ray machine slumping around, even trash-talking each other. If you fly to Germany, for example, you notice that security employees are serious professionals, presumably well-paid.
That's what we must have in the United States. Bring on the air marshals, too.
But these measures aren't going to happen next week; it may take months to adopt a uniform security program across all U.S. airports. In the meantime, why are we still allowed to take carry-on luggage onto a plane?
Until the airports get it together, we should ban carry-on luggage. You can take essential medication and maybe a book. And, for now, no more in-flight food. Flying cross-country? That's why they made Cinnabon. Eat one Pecanbon before boarding, you're good for five hours.
Bregar is an Akron-based senior reporter for Plastics News.