Where Were You?
I was coming out of the gym of a hotel in San Francisco, around 6 a.m. local time. A woman working for the broker whose conference I was attending was on her cell phone telling somebody, “A plane hit the World Trade Towers.”
I checked a Bloomberg near the elevators, and the top story was exactly that: an airliner had hit one of the towers.
I rode up the elevator with another guy, speculating on which airline the plane belonged to, because the stock would get crushed on the opening. It sounds callous, but that’s how you think in this business—or did, before 9/11.
When I got to my room I turned on the TV and the second tower had been hit, and the government announced it was shutting down the airports. I used to work at One Liberty Plaza and saw the towers burning.
I thought, “Market closed for a week. Conference over. Drive home.” I left the room and it was strange: nobody was up. Newspapers hung on the doorknobs and the lobby was quiet.
I asked the concierge to get me a car, told him I would return it 3,000 miles away and he didn’t blink, just said it’d be out front in about 20 minutes. I checked out, went back to my room and packed, called my partner, called home, called traders and left the room for good.
Back to the lobby and all hell had broken loose. Phones ringing, people from the conference walking around on cell phones, and a long line at the concierge desk for rental cars.
A young woman was pacing frantically, shouting into a cell phone that her friend worked on the 93rd floor and she couldn’t reach her.
Then I overheard one of the conference minions telling somebody that the morning sessions would be delayed until they figured out what the markets were doing, and I wanted to strangle the guy and tell him the conference was over, but the car had arrived.
I turned down California Street, got on Route 80 and headed home.
Where were you when it happened?
Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up
© 2006 Jeff Matthews
The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.