Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life Upon the Wicked Stage.....

The drive back wasn't bad at all. We got back in to LV around 9:30PM, where I promptly dropped The Kid off, went home, unloaded the car, got right back in the car, and headed to Escape Lounge to meet Brent.
It was actually kind of fun....and different. Instead of the usual large group dynamic, it was just the two of us and we sat around, drank, and shot the shit for a few hours. It's fun to have in-depth conversation outside of a phone call to the midwest, for a change.
Of course, I had to stay up and watch the Project Runway that I'd missed from Thursday night, when I got home. I don't know what to say about the new season. So far, it lacks the shine of the previous seasons. I'm not in love with any of the contestants yet. There are a couple of cute guys in it, but I'm not choosing any signs yet. More people need to be eliminated before I cast my vote. As always, I love the broken English that pours from Heidi's mouth. She could read the phone book to me and I would probably just die of laughter.
Today, we woke up and got our asses in gear. Running late, as always, we met Laura, Brent, and The Kid for brunch at Firefly. I love going there on Sundays. It's usually not too crowded and the food and atmosphere is great. I'm kind of a foodie, but not a big eater, so, I usually like to dine in restaurants with small portions and mind-blowing food. Plus, you really can't knock their signature drinks either. Today, I forwent my usual Sparkling Sangria (You know if it contains champagne, I'm down) and went for a Blood Orange Mojito. Started the buzz off right.
We all then split with the intention to meet up for Lena's play at 2. Not wanting to go home in between, Nate and I went to Escape and grabbed a couple more drinks. Somehow, we ended up in conversation with the day bartender, whom I, surprisingly, didn't recognize. He was on about Alaska, Sarah Palin, and other cold extremeties. Apparently, he moved here from Anchorage.
We arrived at the theatre shortly before 2, however, Brent and Laura didn't make it. They tried to run all the way back out to Henderson on a Wal-Mart run, then home to unpack and let the dog out, before driving back to the other side of the Strip to see the show. I told them it wouldn't happen, but they're still used to the lack of traffic back home. Lame.
The Kid did show and we wouldn't have been late to the show, had the ticket agent not taken forever to get through the line. We walked in late, right in the middle of Lena's opening monologue.
The show was called Recent Tragic Events. I have to say I was was rather impressed. It was a bare-bones production, but the dark comedy did stir up some old memories. It centered around the days following the 9/11 attacks. Of course, the subject has been brought up countless times over the last few days, as the anniversary was on Friday. In fact, Nate, The Kid, and I discussed it before going out on Friday night. We were watching a special on television as we were getting ready. I found the conversation somewhat intriguing. The perspectives were all so different, I hadn't given a thought to what the event had meant to different people.
I had said, as I have before, that I consider 9/11 to be our generation's equivalent to the Kennedy Assasination. Everyone always remembers where they were when they heard. Nathan said that he was a sophomore in University and a rather flamboyant girl came down the hall of his apartment building to tell everyone of it. Initially, they didn't believe her, but finally turned on the TV to find it to be true. It made me wonder what Canadian undergrad students might have thought about the events unfolding. Given my time in Canada, I can imagine a sort of distanced intrigue. Anti-American sentiment is alive and well throughout the country, so I can only imagine the muted false sympathy they might have felt. Their world wasn't in danger of coming to an end, ours was.
The Kid shocked me the most by stating that it didn't affect him. It was just another current event that he heard about with some morbid fascination. True, he was 13 at the time, so not quite involved with the goings on of the times, but it still sort of shook me. Hell, I remember when I was 13, hearing of Princess Diana's death while in the bath tub...and watching her funeral alone, live on TV one very early morning after my parents had left on some business trip of sorts.
Maybe it's me. Maybe I see the world differently. I can't help but stare at CNN obsessively when these horrible events happen, trying to make sense of it all within my own world.
When I heard of the attacks, I was in between my U.S. History class and my Government class during my Senior Year of high school. I remember leaving that classroom and hearing the news pass from student to student hurriedly. No one was panicked yet. Some didn't even believe that it was actually happening. Some didn't care at all at that point. For all we knew, a plane had gone off course and had crashed into one of the towers.
As for my government class, we had already been worrying for weeks about our first big test of the semester that was to be that day. We had heard all throughout high school that that class was the most difficult class required to graduate. The teacher was a real fear-monger and few of us even expected to pass the class.
The room was abuzz with talk as we sat down, whereupon the teacher said something to the effects of "Now, I know you all care about what's going on in New York City, but it's just another accident. We're still taking the test, so quiet down. I'm going to leave the TV up here on mute just so we know what's going on, but that shouldn't affect our school day." Begrudgingly, we all got to the task at hand. I'll never forget glancing up at one point to watch the second plane collide with the second tower live on CNN.
Other students must have noticed my reaction because one after one, the entire class dropped their pencils and stared at the silent screen. It took the teacher a while to even realize what was going on. She still made us finish our tests, however. Needless to say, none of us did very well on that first test.
I think the thing that rocked me the most about that day was that it was the end of our innocence, in a way. There we were, a bunch of 18 year old private school kids who's biggest worry was some idiotic test and all of the sudden, we knew life as we knew it was over.
Every school in the state went on lockdown. Every class, every period was spent watching CNN and discussing everything that was going on. At that point, the worst event at the school had been an Anthrax threat during my Freshman year, so I don't think the faculty knew quite how to respond. Parents were calling the school non-stop trying to get ahold of their children but being denied by the office. We weren't allowed to go anywhere, we weren't allowed to leave and all of our cell phones were stashed in our cars per school rules. It was utterly frightening to watch it all unfold. None of us knew who we might have known that could have been involved in any of it. Most of us couldn't even understand why someone or some group would want to hurt us. I suppose money can either shelter or expose.
When they finally let us get out of school, I remember driving to the gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes, only to find the lines at the pumps went around the block. It was sheer pandamonium. The radio was on the AM frequency in everyone's cars for a change and I could hear the voices of hundreds of reporters all talking over one another...only adding to the panick.
In a move quite unlike me, I drove to a blood bank where I had donated before. A large line was already forming and I asked the staff what I could do. I set out folding chairs, organized lists, handed out donated refreshments from Donato's and helped any way I could (including giving blood) until my parents insisted that I come home, around 11PM.
The thing that really kills me to this day was the sense of togetherness that we had as a country that day and the days following. Suddenly we weren't all competitors in a rat race, we were all one unit just trying to survive, leaning on eachother as we tried to make sense of the tragedy.
Unfortunately, that sense of togetherness led us to retaliation and war, where we only lost more of our own, but had it not evolved to that point, I wonder what that kind of unity could have done for the country.
In short, I will always remember that day in my life. It rocked everything that we held true as a country. We weren't safe anymore. Nobody was. Every empire must fall and ours, too, could be on the verge at any moment. I don't think any foreigner can truly know what that day felt like to us. I was to graduate later that year and go out into uncertain times to start an uncertain life. Perhaps it's yet another reason why my generation is without a cause and horribly disjointed.

Anyway, off to do a little housework, the gym, and maybe go rock out some karaoke later tonight.

Song of the Day: When Doves Cry by Prince