Wednesday, September 11, 2002


I haven't really been able to process my feelings about September 11, 2001. I have such confusion when I begin to think about it. I know I feel the same basic things that everyone else is experiencing -- extreme sadness at the loss of so many innocent lives, pride in our American heroes, anger at the terrorists behind this massacre. But I also feel disconnected in some way, removed from the reality of it all. I wasn't there. I didn't know anyone who perished in the disaster. All I did was watch the whole thing on television from a great distance. Sometimes I feel like somehow I should have been there, or at the least, I should have been in New York. It's such a silly thought. I've seen the nightmarish footage. Why would I want to be there? What would I have done? What could I have done? Nevertheless, it's a recurring thought that I can't seem to shake.

I was in New York for most of the year 2000 before returning to live in Los Angeles in December of that year. I lived on Long Island with My Second Family and spent a lot of time in the city. It was the first time I lived there as an adult and I came to understand firsthand why it is The Greatest City in the World. In June of 2001, I went back to New York for an incredible week that included two celebrations of my thirtieth birthday and the wedding of one of my best friends. It was one of the best weeks of my life and I left New York feeling elated. I never imagined The City would be changed forever just three short months later.

I was born in New York City. I lived in parts of Queens and on Long Island until I was five years old. Then my family, like so many other New York Jewish families, moved down to South Florida. We would take an annual trip up to New York for Thanksgiving to visit my grandparents and extended family. Often, those trips included excursions into the city from the South Shore of Long Island. I remember when I was still pretty young, my family went to The Twin Towers. I never called it The World Trade Center. It was always The Twin Towers. We went up to the observation area on the top floor and took in the view. Everything was so quiet. The people looked like ants. The cars and cabs seemed to be moving in slow motion. The world was different from up there. We even ate at Windows on the World, the restaurant on the top floor. We did so many of the touristy things in New York -- The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, Metropolitan Museum of Art, South Street Seaport, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, etc. -- but none left as big an impression as that visit to the top of The Twin Towers.

Granted, I am wildly nostalgiac by nature, but every single time I drove out of New York City and headed back to Long Island I had to take one last look at the skyline. In 2000 alone, I must have driven in and out of the city a hundred times and, without fail, as I was leaving, I would glance in the rearview mirror and try to take a mental snapshot. That skyline was implanted in my brain at a very early age. I could never get enough of it. To me, it was, and still is, one of the most beautiful things in the world. I think the reason I always took one last look was the fear that somehow I might not ever get the chance to see it again. And I was proven right for doing so. I'll never get to see the complete skyline ever again. I loved those buildings. I still can't believe they're gone. It pains me to try to accept that they no longer exist.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002


I ran a personal best 10 miles today. Took me about an hour and a half. I'm quite proud of myself. Of course, I think I set out to run away from my problems, but just kept circling the two mile loop back to my apartment. Very symbolic.

Monday, September 09, 2002


I'm beginning to come to terms with the fact that the summer may eventually come to an end. And I talk about summer here as in the way we used to think of summer when we were little kids -- nothing but sun and fun. As I was settig up the new home office headquarters of Piker today, it dawned on me... I did not work a single day this summer. Unemployment checks, travel vouchers, my family and My Girl kept me alive and smiling. Up until last weekend, there was not one fun thing I had to say no to.

Some very good friends invited My Girl and I down to Mexico to hang out with a group of people we really like. An offer to spend a long weekend in an amazing house overlooking the ocean south of Ensenada is an incredibly intoxicating proposition, but one My Girl and I were forced to refuse. The four of us all got on the phone and My Girl and I broke the news to our friends. They did everything they could to convince us to come and even suggested we could just show up if we changed our minds. That left the door open and put us on the fence. Then, in an ironic turn of events, My Girl got a writing assignment that was due on Wednesday. Seeing as how she always likes to be highly professional by turning her work in a day early, it was adios, ensenada.

This past weekend marked the second straight weekend I had to say no to an event I very much wanted to attend. This one also took place in Mexico. "Oh Mexico... I ain't ever been, but I'd sure like to go..." A close friend got married in Cancun and had invited me to her small intimate wedding, but I simply could not afford to go. Saying no in both cases was the mature thing to do, the adult thing to do. However, the kid in me -- who had one of his best summers ever -- couldn't help but think: Two missed Mexican fiestas, mucho fun missed out on.

One would be hard-pressed to find a sporting event I missed out on. Not that I attended all of the events, that would be The Dream Summer, but I did watch almost every minute on TV. The major tournaments of Golf and Tennis bracket the summer perfectly -- each has their tease, with The Masters held in April and the French Open in late May. June contains Golf's U.S. Open and Tennis' Wimbledon. Then Golf plays through with the British Open in July and the PGA Championship in early August, before Tennis serves out the summer with its U.S. Open in late August through early September. I was able to catch parts or all of the events mentioned above, as well as nearly every match of a magical World Cup, and I enjoyed myself thorougly in the process. This past weekend saw Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi go at it once again, perhaps for the last time in a Grand Slam, on the first Sunday of the NFL season. As I watched the match, while relaxing with a bunch of friends in a hot tub in Mission Viejo, I could feel the torch being passed. Tennis was stubborn, grinding it out until the very last Sampras serve-and-volley, but eventually relented the summer and handed off the fall to Football.

So, students are back at school, the "American Idol" has been crowned, and the new TV season is right around the corner. "Spiderman", "Attack of the Clones", "The Bourne Identity", "Minority Report", "Austin Powers' in Goldmember", "Signs", "XXX", and "Scooby Doo" have all blockbusted and squeezed as many teen dollars out of the summer as possible. Soon, the weather will turn as well. For those who don't have the luxury of living somewhere like California or Florida, thoughts of sun and fun and white sandy beaches will have to wait until vacation, or perhaps even next summer. I can't help but think of Jim Morrison crooning "Where will we be? When the summer's gone?" Well, it's gone and I know where I am, but I have no idea where I'm going.