Never Forget.

Illustration for article titled Never Forget.

Happy September 11, everyone! Did I mention I've been attending Fashion Week? It's crazy. I bet it's just like Fashion Week was those six short years ago, except now everyone chews out the publicist who fucked up their seat assignment on iPhones. But the energy is the same, as are these swarms of well-dressed people pushing and shoving their swag bags frantically through lines, as a seasoned barista labors in one corner to keep everyone plied with complimentary Nespresso, and one of those Times Square type illuminated news tickers blasts the latest fashion industry headlines. There are two of them, so if you get bored enough there is more than enough time to type them down word-for-word on last year's BlackBerry:

OKAY, SO PERHAPS THE PREDICTED DEATH OF COLOUR FOR THE SPRING 08 MAKEUP PALLETTE WAS JUST A TINY BIT PREMATURE. BUT THEN, BABY PHAT ALWAYS BREAKS ALL THE RULES. FOR KIMORA LEE SIMMONS' COLLECTION MAKEUP ARTIST LISA BUTLER SED FUSCIA LIKE GEORGIO ARMANI USES 'GREIGE'....FOR J. MENDEL, CHARLOTTE TILBURY EVOKED THAT SEVENTIES GLAMAZON — AND A JERRY HALL FEELING - IN THE MAKEUP. LAST SPRING'S WORDS LIKE "FRESH" AND "PRETTY" HAVE BEEN REPLACED BY "DIVA" AND "EXPENSIVE AND GLAMOUROUS."

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Looking back, the best and worst thing about September 11 was that it so disproportionately affected that tiny crop of New Yorkers upon whom Sex & The City was based. It's weird to think now that an exploding plane also killed a lot of Pentagon bureaucrats in Arlington, Virginia and another crashed in Pennsylvania thanks to the help of those heroic passengers they did that movie and all those country songs about. Because the day remains so thoroughly, mythically New Yorky, and if it had, say, gone down in a poorer, less hopped-up-on-its own sense of self-importance type of city, the flood of money/resources/energy/pride that galvanized everyone and restored normalcy/dynamism/unaffordable rent so soon after history's biggest terrorist attack would not have come together. Fashion Week would have relocated itself to Las Vegas, like all the other trade shows, or perhaps another city competing for conventions; New Orleans comes to mind. The same pointed sense of (notice-my) superiority once manifested by those 110-story towers ... gets a lot of shit done in this crazy world. Like Fashion Week! You see where I'm going with this.

But it is September 11, and I am determined to leave you with something more uplifting than "The Marc Jacobs show last night started two hours late, probably because he wanted it to run till September 11 so you'd NEVER FORGET, Ha ha!" And so, as opposed to dwelling on, say, the earning power based formula by which the federally appointed 9/11 compensation chief doled out funds to victims' families, or the resultant controversy when all those rich bond traders' widows in Tenafly complained that their disproportionately large sum of the money was not disproportionately large enough, let's qremember Flight 93, and the fact that there are times in life when ordinary people realize that they can use their ordinary lives to save those of other ordinary people, and they follow through on that.
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I woke up on 9/11/01 in really great spirits. My birthday wasn't too long before, and the party had been a smashing success. I had to make phonecalls, so I got on my Sprint phone and started dialing. I couldn't get through to anyone and was getting incredibly irritated. I called up Sprint customer service, angry, what's going on...The operator was apologizing. She didn't know about "it", just like me. I turned the TV on just as the first tower began to collapse. Then my roommate woke up and we both watched it. Then my sister (of all the days, she chose that one to stay over, instead of her own apartment on west 19th street) came out, rubbing her eyes. We were all home in Brooklyn, away from it.

We went up on the roof. On the neighbouring roof was a guy, covered in soot and dust, shaking out his clothes. He had been there, where the smoke was billowing out from. Below us, on the street, school kids were playing, laughing, blissfully unaware. It was a strange sight. Then another neighbour joined us. He took in the view. "Gnarly," he said. Gnarly.

I feel, in a way, we've all been a little sick since that day. It lives in our souls, our hearts. It's a collective illness, from which I'm not sure we'll ever recover. We have moved on, yes, and we have joy. But we are not the same, and we will never be. But we are some of the lucky ones.

9/11 didn't take away any of my family and friends. But I did spend a week in '99 temping at a financial firm in one of the towers. They were on one of the higher floors. Way up there, in the clouds. I still recall fragments of these people, like phantoms now in my memory...walking the hallways, being busy. I don't think any of them made it, they were simply too high up. But I want to pretend they did. I picture them leading happy fullfilled lives, reaching their goals, telling jokes, laughing and smiling. That's how I see them all, in my mind's eye.