This morning started off in a meeting with a sales rep from a disaster recovery firm. While going over all of the services they offer (which were almost all way more than we need) she touched upon the nation-scale of the company. They have regional centers all over the US that are identically setup to make it easy for companies to recover their data anywhere. She quickly add, “I know what you’re thinking, why wouldn’t we just go use [the closest one]? But God forbid the te-disaster takes out the whole region…” It was the ‘te’ right before she said disaster that caught my attention. Most people wouldn’t have even noticed it as I don’t believe the sound even fully escaped her lips. But I knew exactly what word that was meant to begin – ‘terrorists’.
It was so interesting to me because I knew it was rather subconscious for her. She had no intention of using the threat of a terrorist attack as part of her sales pitch; it just happened to be the first thought to pop into her mind in that context. Our lives have changed so drastically since 9/11 that it is no longer just the big news stories we see differently. When the entire Northeast loses power, there’s no real shock in people questioning the possibility of an outside attack. But even in day-to-day speech those events have become a backdrop for all. Words that we once spoke only in reference to the Middle East and various Third-World nations are suddenly an intrinsic part of our vocabulary. Amazing how even the most subtle miscue can reflect upon the very depth of our transformation.