09/11 has hit me like a freight train again and I can’t remember if I knew you then.
Every generation has two moments. If you know your two moments, you will be fine. For me and my generation, it was the Berlin wall and 09/11. Dealing with so many people who are younger than me, I realize that 09/11 is their Berlin wall. If you only know of one, be prepared because the second one is coming around.
You see, what I mean is this. Intellectually, few moments that have occurred in the decades I’ve been on this planet that are more important or meaningful to me than the tearing down of the Berlin wall. Many people around my age, if presented the question properly, would agree. The catch, however is that I do not know where I was when it happened and I didn’t know what it was when it happened. I do remember who told me.
Not changing her name because it was eons ago and she deserves the tribute, but it was my g/t teacher Mrs. Hartmann. Whenever someone tells me something important, I see her face that day. I had no idea how to make that face until 09/11.
I guess that is the best context to put the idea I am trying to communicate in. Your “generation” is a curve defined by 3 moments. The first is that moment in your childhood when you learn you are a child and that you never want to grow up. The second is the most important thing you are told when you are growing up. The 3rd is the most important thing that happened to you.
I was not in the buildings. The fact that I was in New York is almost irrelevant. I was there. 09/11 happened and I know where I was. That moment is an eternal anchor for me. It makes me almost sad that I can’t remember if I had already met Steph. I spent 18 hours that day drinking beer with her ex-boyfriend. I love the girl to death. I met her in that time frame-ish. It could have been a year before or a year later. It could have been the day before or the day after. I met Stephanie in the fall. It’s just hard to remember the fall at that time in my life without 09/11.
Some things are perfectly clear in my mind. I remember the cute Greek freshman and the moment I had to tell her that I wasn’t joking or worried about the bomb threat on campus and why. I remember the crackhead with the stroller telling me it was my fault and not knowing what on earth she could be talking about because I hadn’t seen the news. I remember “chasing” terrified people around 7-11 who looked at me like I was going to explode and kill them all.
But this beautiful intelligent woman who is no longer dating my oldest friend in the universe yet I talk to 12 years later… I have no idea. It’s not that I do not remember the precise moment I met her. My friend sent her to pick me up at the train station. We had absolutely inappropriate conversation in the car as she drove me to his dorm room. We were talking as if we’d known him for years and each other all our lives. I remember meeting Steph. She is a rare person and I love her to death. My memory around that time is so jumbled though and I regret that.
Also, if you should meet her or decide to check out her blog, don’t forget that she’s StephANIE to you. If you get in trouble, I warned you.