newest entry 2003-02-04 4:52 p.m.

There's a survey that's been circulating at Diaryland about "where were you" when various historical events occurred. It's a slow news day here, so I thought I'd play along.

1. When John F. Kennedy was shot (11/22/1963): Not born yet

2. When Mt. St. Helens blew (5/18/1980): I vaguely remember this happening, but have no "flashbulb" memory of it, as it didn't concern me much.

3. When the space shuttle Challenger exploded (1/28/1986): I remember this vividly. I was showering in my college dorm, and my good friend Chris the redneck math genius came in and said, "Hey, the Challenger exploded!" Then we went and found a TV to watch the news on. We were in Florida at the time, so it seemed even more immediate.

4. When the 7.1 earthquake hit San Francisco (10/7/1989): I was shelving books in the Ridgewood Library's children's department. Later that evening I saw the video footage of a baseball game that had been interrupted by the quake, and the thing that struck me most was that some of the players' wives were crying and some weren't, and I wondered what that meant about them as people.

5. When the Gulf War began (1/16/1991): I remember the general time frame but not this day. I do remember the day the war ended--I had gotten a review copy of the new Feelies album in the mail, and there was a sudden snow squall and I was wearing a black fisherman's sweater from the Tweeds catalog that I'd gotten for Christmas. Remember the Tweeds catalog? They were the J. Crew of their time, back when J. Crew was strictly for jocks.

6. When OJ Simpson was chased in his White Bronco (6/17/1994): I was in my friend "Nesmith"'s living room. We were going to play guitars or record songs or something, and his roommate, who it later turned out was his secret girlfriend, was watching the news on TV. I said, "Why is this news?" and that was my refrain throughout the whole "trial of the century" business.

7. When the building in Oklahoma City was bombed (4/19/1995): I honestly don't remember. Based on the date, I was still living in Hoboken, and I was probably unemployed or temping. I guess my own misery trumped current events.

8. When Princess Di was killed (8/31/1997): I was visiting Fred C. Dobbs at his father's house in Virginia for Labor Day weekend. His dad was a big Di fan and was very bummed out. I couldn't believe the news, but I did not feel emotionally involved in any way, and was in fact a little annoyed by the intense media coverage. Mother Theresa died the next week, I think.

9. When Bush was first announced President (11/7/2000): I don't remember exactly, but I do remember waking up the day after Election Day, and Monkey was crowing about how there still wasn't a winner. Like many people, it was the first time that I really understood how important every vote is, and I had a leaden feeling in my chest: "this is history in the making."

10. When the 6.8 earthquake hit Nisqually, WA (2/28/2001): Dude...?

11. When terrorists knocked over the World Trade Center (9/11/2001): I was in my basement, proactively sending out resumes, answering e-mail, and checking in with my temp agency, who were just across the street from the WTC. I hung up at 8:45 a.m., pissed off that they weren't finding me any work. In retrospect, of course, I am really, really glad they didn't find me work.

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