Monday, September 12, 2005

where i was that day...

so i just finished reading a column by comedian larry miller in the weekly standard, and i was reminded about a conversation i was having at a party over the weekend. you see today is the nice lady's birthday. she sometimes has bad luck leading up to it. her grandfather died during that week early on in our relationship and i remembered trying like hell to get out to staten island (where the wake was being held) bring her a birthday gift because it is circumstances like this that make the bastard want to help. and it is things like this that can't be helped and thus makes one feel really impotent when you want to help. so you try like hell to do something to feel like you did something. i think i ran out there with my overheating '72 ford maverick that had a misfiring cylinder in what in retrospect was one of my worser suits to go to the wake and give the woman i share my life with a watch and try to be supportive in my own clumsy way.

anyway on saturday night, i was on rayne o'brian's rooftop bumming cigarettes off of his sister and chatting about rescue me with her date who was a fireman (i'll talk about that later). and eventually the party came up onto the roof and we started discussing whether or not we could see the 2 lights downtown that they light up that represent where to twin towers used to be. we couldn't see them because it was overcast but rayne said they were off (it was about midnight). we hemmed and hawed about it and eventually agreed with him and the bastard told him that when "i get home to my side of the river, and i see them on, i'll call you". larry miller writes:

"It was the eleventh. September 11. Late afternoon, September 11. The day four years before that all those devious calculations were successful and changed our world. (Or, worse, didn't.) The day so many died, including Jeff Goldflam, my friend from high school, and including those who held hands and jumped, strangers or office mates, screaming or praying, or silent, or all of these. They learned a great lesson about friendship and brotherhood, those who jumped, but they would tell it to no one.

I said my prayers that Sunday morning as usual--Yes, I'm one of the stupid people; I pray--but didn't include any about the victims from the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon, or the heroes of that flight in Pennsylvania, or everyone who's died since, or before, or will in the future. Because I hadn't remembered.

No, I was too busy getting up and making breakfast, and petting the dog as he ate out of my hand, and putting sunscreen on a squirming kid, and reading the paper, and trying to decide whether to make mac-and-cheese that night or take everyone out, and thinking about what I might write or sell this week to further myself. But I hadn't remembered."

he goes on to wonder where we will be next year and who will remember. now one day later on my wife's birthday the bastard sits at his desk thanking god that he has 5 foot high cube walls because i'm wiping my eyes and shaking back and forth remembering being in my car that morning, going to work, listening to howard stern, thinking it was a joke and getting to 188th on the grand central parkway to find out that the second tower was hit and knowing it wasn't a joke and feeling ashamed that i continued on to work that day instead of going home to be with my babies and hold them tight and tell them that it was going to be okay. sorry i wasn't there baby, i've always felt awful for it.

—the bastard

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