Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

Brooklyn to Palm Springs in seven years. It's like the Seven League Boots, only chronological rather than geographic.

Seven years ago, there I was, dreaming of some different life, knowing that if I didn't change my life, it would kill me. Although those dreams were inchoate, Palm Springs is a pretty fair approximation of what I was dreaming of.

Here I am in the desert, where I belong.

I think if I were to be given a glimpse back then of where I would be in seven years, it would have made me very happy. Except for one thing: I bet I would bristle at the seven years in between.

"So do I have to wait that long? I'm not good with the patience thing."

But now, those seven years feel like an unfortunate weekend. A flat tire, distress, blurting out prayers, getting bad news.

Did that really all happen?

It's all starting to seem a little unreal.

And then there was that day seven years ago.

The national significance recedes at this point, subsumed by the individual significance I give it.

I wonder if it's that way for a lot of us? I knew of plenty of plenty of people who died on September 11, 2001, but although there were a few near misses, I didn't know who was on one of those planes or in one of those buildings. And statistically speaking, that's the case with most of us.

So if the events of that September day made all of us stop and get some perspective. I wonder if seven years on it's become "the day that I knew I had to quit that job," or "the day I decided to have children," or "the day I realized how much I really loved him and how empty my life would be without him in it"?

Maybe that's what today should be about. In part at least. If a plane were to come out of the sky right at you, who would you call? Where would you rather be than where you are now? What's the one thing you'd wish you'd had the chance to do? What would you say to the person next to you? If you're inclined to pray, what would your prayer be?

Because seven years ago today, we all learned that a plane really could come out of the sky.

1 comment:

mike said...

Exactly.
As I watched the towers burn from my highrise office in Midtown and realized I could be next, I realized I didn't want to die surrounded by people I dislike doing a job I hate. I left a few months later.