April 19th, 2005


Ten years ago

My family lives in Oklahoma--about 20 miles from the Murrah building, down in Norman.

When I heard about the blast, I called home. My nephew had heard it on the playground at school, and figured it was something else. My brother immediately went downtown to donate blood, but they didn't need it, because there were so many dead. I remember the speculations about the Middle Easterners, how it might be the same people who bombed the World Trade Center two years earlier. I remember being embarrased by those thoughts when we found out who was responsible.

Ten days later, my family was in New Jersey for my wedding. We gave a prayer at the ceremony for those who lost their lives in Oklahoma.

I remember when I was a kid that I had been to the cathedral that is right across the street from the bombing site. I remember the cathedral but had no recollection of what must have been a nondescript office building nearby, and I couldn't place the building downtown. That Christmastime we went to see the site while the chain link fence and the impromptu memorials were still up. In some ways they were more powerful than the constructed memorial that now stands.

Four years ago we went downtown with my nieces and nephews and went to the museum that is now across the street. This would have been December 2001, after 9/11, and the superlatives of the exhibits, the iconification of artifacts, seemed both poignant and pathetic. There was a room where they sat you down, and played back the only audio recording of the explosion, while you're sitting like you would be at the meeting that was going on. The individual chairs outside at the memorial, one for each life lost, are touching and profound, but I couldn't help but think about the 3,000 chairs you'd need in New York.

Downtown Oklahoma City is pretty much like any Western city these days--wide streets, turn of the century architecture, gentrification, chain restaurants. But I suppose there will always be something different from now on, a little less innocence.

Sometimes I know too much

I'm watching last night's Everwood and Ephram and Andy are flying back home, and they're supposed to be at the Denver airport.

Thing is it's so obviously the Salt Lake City airport. The Denver airport is very distinctive as well, which means that even if people don't know SLC they will know this airport is not Denver if they see it. And if you know that Everwood, though set in Colorado, is actually filmed in Utah, you know why they used SLC.

It reminds me of "The Peacemaker" when they're running through an "airport" and it's the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Or the second "Die Hard" movie when they're supposed to be at Dulles and there's a Pac Bell phone.