I remember where I was. I remember the office closing early, and the staff of a dying dot-com play going home to “be with their loved ones.” I remember sitting on the beach, noticing that no planes were flying, no boats were moving, and the bay was essentially dead. I remember riding my bike to work the next day with an American flag jutting out of my big blue Camelbak. I remember watching the concert for New York, and crying when Billy Joel played.
I hate Billy Joel.
I remember launching my business that fall, with an overflowing cup of optimism on August 11 and some serious concerns 60 days later. I remember choosing a business name that was decidedly optimistic and deliberately vague. I remember telling an old friend in the business that I was planning to start my own communications firm, and I remember him taking off his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose.
I remember a flood of consultants hitting the trade show circuits with new business cards, made-up titles and bubble-fueled big thinking. I remember my goal of signing one client a month. I remember going to an office with no clients and an empty email box. I remember looking at Monster.com every single day.
I remember entertaining one serious job idea from Southern California. I remember flying out and meeting with Orange County Realtors. I remember driving on a 12 lane highway to check out some more affordable options. I remember coming home a few weeks later, sitting at the kitchen table, and my wife telling me she was pregnant.
I remember going to SIA to network, and getting nowhere. I remember Hixson asking me point blank “what ARE you doing here?” I remember having dinner at a martini bar that night and the conversation shifting to a possible invasion of Iraq. I remember Geraci saying “show me the proof.” I remember me disagreeing.
I remember saying that if you don’t live on the East Coast, you don’t get it. I remember saying that by being closer to the tragedy, my own attitudes toward projection of military force had changed. I remember sincerely believing that a government by the people, even one I hadn’t voted for, would still act in the best way for the people.
I remember two years of checking the mailbox, and instantly depositing whatever might be there. I remember having the conversation that we might need to sell the house.
I remember Colin Powell testifying to the United Nations. I remember reading Joe Wilson’s letter in the New York Times. I remember wondering why anybody at the Pentagon would talk to Seymour Hersh. I remember Thomas Friedman doing a full 180 on the war. I remember meeting new people every day who said they had been anti-war from the beginning. I remember meeting one woman who said she was a hawk.
I remember wondering what was going to happen next. I remember wondering what might have happened had Al Gore fought harder. I remember giving money for the first time to presidential election campaigns. I remember Howard Dean's scream. I remember John Kerry getting the nod because he was more "electable."
I remember hoping that in four years, something would finally give.