::::::::INSTANT MESSAGING COMES TO HALT
Charlotte-Anne Lucas, an editor from TheStreet.com, was exchanging instant messages with one of the financial news site's columnists a few minutes before he disappeared into the trade center. Her conversation the morning of Sept. 11 with Bill Meehan, the chief market analyst for Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, was brief. She asked him if he was on track to file his midday column for TheStreet.com. He answered: "Yup."
A few minutes later, Adams saw on the television that planes had crashed into the towers and jerked her head back to her instant-message screen. It told her, "Wmeehan100 signed off at 8:49:35."
It wasn't like seeing someone die in person, Adams said, but in some ways it was just as chilling.
"It was incredibly powerful to me even though - or maybe because - it was a message that was automatically generated by the computer. It gave me an ominous feeling that he had died," she said, crying.
Since that day she has been saving more and more instant-message exchanges and e-mails, she said, perhaps because of some subconscious fear that other people, too, would suddenly disappear.
Yet she talks in contradictions about the notes. Personal, yet impersonal. Warm, yet cold. "The messages," she said, "are haunting." ::::::::
© 2001 The Washington Post Company