Monday, September 11, 2006

On 9/11: Don't Forget to Live


Five years ago, right about this time on this date I was shake awake by my new roomate who had a wild-eyed look on his face that I'd never seen before as the horror show, that unfolded into the day that we now call nine-eleven. Although I'd relocated to Los Angeles, as a person who'd live in and still loved New York City the reality of what was taking place was surreal and to some extent it still is...many people cope with larger-than-life adversity like those planes crashing into those towers by different means -- I feel an acute sense of dread whenever I think about what went on there and the many twists our lives take wherein we're given the chance to either learn something about ourselves and those around us or we don't...

A few weeks ago I went into one of my hangouts on Melrose to watch the rest of a golf match. I kind of just walked right in and pulled up a stool while my eyeballs were glued to the leaderboard. Soon I noticed that there were a group of people pestering the guy sitting next to me -- it was Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe. I nodded a what's up and asked him if the admitted Crüe were doing anything that day -- there was a popular L.A. Music festival going on that weekend called Sunset Junction. He assured me that he wasn't and he was just kicking it on Melrose, same as me. I felt for the guy as the tourists kept buggin' him but you'd never know it; he was as gracious as they come when eh really didn have to be because the shine's worn off of him a while ago.

After the golf game ended, I went to my meeting which was on the other side of Hollywood in Los Feliz in a French Bistro over on Vermont. I arrived a few minutes earlier than I'd planned and ordered a whiskey to sip on while I read a magazine at a table out on the sidewalk. Eventually I finished the magazine and realized that it was around 7 PM, the guy I was supposed to meet flaked and left a message on my voicemail instead of calling -- I wasn't really in the mood for glad-handing at the moment anyway; the sun was setting behind the trees across the street from me and as I looked up Vermont toward the affluent neighborhood on the hill it climbed, the suns's golden rays began to dapple the green treetops with it's halcyon rays and further up they appeared to make this big white art deco mansion glow like a pearl in the green fields that lead to the Griffith Observatory...I realized that a placid scenario such as this might've taken place on a side street in the city of Pompeii just seconds before Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried it's inhabitants white ash and mud...according to the books, there were foreshocks and warnings that went because the citizenry had gotten used to the rumbling mountain; the way things were...and they paid the ultimate price for it...
That chain of events and the scenario came to my mind when I woke up this morning and realized what day it was...it took me back half a decade to the day and made me wonder aloud "had we, as a country, learned anything from the loss?" I've braced myself for the onslaught of "in memoriam" activities that will be held today and it brings a chill to my spine thinking of the vultures who will use this day as a political football ad infinetum...who will continue to cause pain and suffering in far away lands while lining their pockets because everyone's just grown used to the drumbeat of the status quo -- be it in their best interests or not...this day has become, for me, a day of uneasy anticipation and of undeniable hope. It's been said that many people define their existence by the experiences they live through and no day like today brings that home clearer to me...I shudder to think of what raced through the minds of the thousands who got buried alive on that day and it makes me realize that no matter how tough things get, I have a little say in the matter. The innocent people who went down in those planes that razed the Twin Towers didn't have that luxury, neither did those people who happened to be in Pompeii during the first century; all of this makes me stop and take a pause to take stock of why I do what I'm doing here and in other places...try more to enjoy the paths that life takes us on because you never know when your time is up...I don't think that there's ever going to be full closure in regards to what went down on today's date five years ago, however, we shouldn't let that dissuade us from soaking in the world around us and the unique places/ scenarios we might find ourselves in, no matter how quotidian and mundane; savor the moments that you have as they're all precious and can be taken away in the blink of an eye...

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