Things you JUST MISSED seeing.

When I was 13 years old I talked my parents into letting me go alone to a Cubs game. But the weather was awful – it was cold and windy and rainy, and I was seriously underdressed and absolutely miserable. I left and went home before the game started. That was April 16, 1972, and Burt Hooten pitched a no-hitter that day. I was IN the stands, dammit!

Many years later I lived in Washington DC and was about three blocks away from the 14th Street bridge when the Air Florida flight hit it before going into the Potomac. There was a terrible blizzard that day, auto and Metro traffic was totally paralyzed, and I was literally walking in the middle of Constitution Avenue, and I never noticed a thing.

When I lived in California, I would constantly wake up and hear “did you guys feel that earthquake last night?” at breakfast. Everyone but me said “yeah”.

I slept through damn near all of them except for the few big ones.

Feeling, not seeing, but along the same lines.

I heard the Columbia explode. It woke me up. I thought it was the garbage truck so I rolled over and went back to sleep.

I had just crossed that bridge and was on the far end when it happened. By “just crossed” I mean I had been stuck in traffic on it for about 30 minutes, and it’s not that long a bridge. I heard the sirens as emergency vehicles tried to get to the site, but I had no idea what was going on for the longest time. That day, my normal 40 minute commute took about 5 hours…

9/11. Would have been visible from work if I’d shown up five minutes earlier. Not horribly depressed I missed seeing it.

Friend of mine was in a truck making a delivery from Yorkshire down to Canary Wharf in London.

He was at the north side of the Thames in the queue to go into the tunnel that goes under the Thames and from there you can see the top of the buildings at Canary Wharf.

Here’s what happened next.

The picture only show one place that was damaged, in reality it blew out the glass in full sheets from most of the buildings nearby, its surprising that the glass came out as full sheets instead of shattering, must be something to do with pressure waves, of course it all shattered on landing.

If it happened maybe one hour later, my friend would have been parked probably right near to the actual truck that was used to contain the bomb.


My family was on vacation in Hawaii when I was six or so, and I had the chicken pox. (There was an epidemic going around at my school, but my parents had thought I’d escaped it. Nope - we found the first pock on the plane.) After a few days, I wasn’t contagious anymore, but I guess I was still cranky and itchy. My family went up to Kiluea and we looked around and went to the volcano house, but after a few hours I wanted to leave.

When we got back to the hotel, someone turned the TV on and the freaking volcano was erupting, live.


I just missed seeing a malfunctioning plane (and its pilot) nosedive into Lake Ontario. I was working at the Canadian National Exhibition, parking cars in a lot at the far west end of the property, right across from the lake. There was an air show happening over the lake. I was facing the opposite direction, and all of a sudden I heard people screaming and they were pointing at the lake. It took me a minute to find out what happened. If I’d been turned around at the time, it would have happened in full view.

Oh, another Exhibition one: I was working there and passed by the Stadium on the way to clock out. During my ride home, there was a riot inside the stadium because, I believe, Alice Cooper didn’t show up, and it spilled out into the park. So I just missed that happening, and that’s a good thing.

Another earthquake not felt. There was a temblor near the Perry power plant that rocked much of Northeast Ohio when I worked in Euclid. I had just gone out to go to the bank, before lunch, and when I walked into the bank, everyone was talking about the earthquake. Riding in my car for the few blocks to the bank, I had not felt anything. When I got back to the office, everyone was talking about the way the cubicle partitions had swayed, knocking small objects off the walls onto the floor.
It would probably not have been noticed on the West Coast, but we don’t get wall-shaking earthquakes.

The World Trade Center Bombing on February 26, 1993. I had left the Winter Garden across the street above 10 minutes earlier and was about five blocks away.

My husband & I did see that. We were driving along Lakeshore when it happened.

I missed that also. I was at the Ex that day too, and was in the Food Building when the accident occurred. We knew nothing until we left the building, and by that time, people were streaming towards the waterfront and rescue craft were heading for the scene in the water.

In the middle of the night at my university a kid shot himself on the stairs of a building. I has a really early class and I walked right by the building. If I had walked by the other side, I would have seen him. He wasn’t discovered for another hour–since it was a warm night and it looked like he had just curled up on the steps and spent the night there.

I was picking up dinner at a taco place right next to the 405 in L.A., and five minutes after I left, O.J.'s white Bronco came slowly cruising up the freeway.

We were at the members-only event at the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans a few years ago and walked out onto the catwalk over the shark tank. My son actually asked, “Is this thing safe?” and Papa Tiger scoffed at him, assuring him it had to be. Then we went to the Imax next door to see a movie. As we came out of the movie, we saw a lot of ambulances and cops, but had no idea what had happened.

It wasn’t until we got home that we learned that not ten minutes after we’d been on the catwalk, it collapsed, spilling a bunch of people into the shark tank.

I missed seeing the '89 San Fransisco quake by about five minutes. I wanted to watch the game, but my mother made me finish my homework. I finished, flipped on the TV, and was very confused, because I was NOT watching baseball.

One year my father planned to take my sister and me to an air show in New Hampshire. We were going to go on Saturday, but for some reason decided at the last minute to go Sunday. We opened the paper on Sunday morning to discover that a father/daughter wingwalker team had crashed (both killed) the day before.

Not exactly just missed, but I left Panama the day before the US invasion began in 1989. I was in Panama on Dec. 16, when the marine was killed whose death triggered the invasion. I left for the US on the morning of Dec. 18. The invasion began the night of the following day, at 1 AM on Dec. 20.

I was, however, in Panama during the first coup attempt against Noriega, in March 1988.

Well, if “not exactly just missed” and “the day before” count, then I have another story.

I was in London one December day in 1983. I was a tourist, and was leaving London the next day, but on this day, I’d just gone out for a walk. I happened upon Harrods department store, and spent a while walking up and down the street outside the store, admiring the windows that were all done up for Christmas. They were really nicely done, and I walked up and down, looking at all of them.

The next day, I left London to go back home to Toronto. When I arrived back home, the newspapers and TV reports were all about the IRA car bomb explosion outside Harrods that killed six people. And I had been walking on the street outside Harrods just the day before!

Years ago a guy had an unusual malfunction at the drop zone that I trained at. I noticed the manager suddenly start running for the phone. If I’d been facing the other way I would have seen a high-speed one-man downplane impact the ground.

He died.

For those wondering about the technical details, jumper with a Racer Elite had an accidental reserve deployment after his main canopy was already open. He pulled the cutaway handle however due to the particular design of the RSL on the Racer (at least at that time, maybe they’ve changed it since the 1990s) the main risers were trapped by the reserve risers. Main detached from the harness, moved up the reserve risers far enough to be totally out of reach and stayed inflated. The two canopies rotated into a downplane and he impacted at very high speed.

I happened to be on a tourist trip to China in the summer of 1997. Our itinerary spanned from late June to early July – we’d actually be there in the country for the historic handover of Hong Kong as it reverted from British rule on July 1st, 1997!

The day of June 30th, 1997, was spent hiking around the famous Yellow Mountain. That night, we stayed at a hotel on one of the mountains. There would be a party at midnight with the ceremony broadcast on TV. I was exhausted from the mountain path-walking, so I took a little nap after dinner, around 8:30pm, to get my rest in before the party.

When I woke up, it was 6:00am.

It’s not like I was alone in the room and neglected to set an alarm: I was staying in a room with my parents. When I asked them why they let me sleep through the handover, they said, “You looked so tired, we figured you needed the rest.”


I was on the 49th floor of the American Express Tower of the World Financial Center when this happened. Not really thinking, I characterized the impact of the explosion as feeling like a car hitting a structure the size of a house. Wait a minute. This tower is a little larger that the “size of a house,” this has to be something big. As we know, it was.

I was already at work a couple of blocks south of the World Trade Center Towers on 9-11.

After the first plane struck, the people present in my department found a balcony just across the hallway with a “picture frame” view of the towers. We all still thought it was just a small plane that hit and conducted ourselves as if it were business as usual.

I left the balcony to return to my department, because the phones had to be covered, and to give my manager a chance to have a look-see.

As soon as she stepped out on the balcony, she heard the sound of the second plane approaching and saw the second collision.

A little less dramatic: when the blackout occurred in NYC a couple of years ago, I was working in 30 Rockefeller center on the 30th floor. I’d just gone done, to hand off something to a friend mine who was meeting me, bringing my cell phone with me. Went to go back up: no lobby lights, no elevators working. LSS – I avoided having to walk down 29 flights, although I luckily was able to reach a co-worker, still up there, who brought down my bookbag about an hour later.