Will there be a time in our life when the date, September 11th, will just sneak past us?
As we reflect on September 11th, 2001, many of us are reliving the day eleven years ago. Some of us are Tweeting about it. Some are changing Facebook profile pictures to include the Twin Towers, or firemen, or loved ones who were killed. Others are blogging. Or posting.
We all know exactly where we were. We all remember what we were doing. If we don't know someone who was killed in the attacks, we all know someone who knows someone who was in one of the buildings or on one of the planes. Or we know someone who was almost on one of the planes or someone who missed a flight or someone who was late to work at the World Trade Center.
I vividly remember what I was doing—sleeping (I'm a New York native, but I live in Los Angeles). It was only 6. a.m. when the phone's ring woke me up. It was my mom. My heart pounded away. I thought something had happened to my dad. No, she said. A plane had slammed into the World Trade Center. I felt a pang of relief. Mom woke me up for this? A crazy accident.? But as I spoke to her, a second plane hit the other tower. My husband and I quickly got out of bed and put on the television. Our nearly two-year-old daughter continued to sleep soundly in the next room. I remember being relieved that she was too young to understand.
And while I vividly remember September 11, 2001, I also vividly remember September 10, 2001. A friend had written a cover story on Britney Spears for People magazine. The story was receiving a lot of media attention. My friend was on morning shows, entertainment news shows and prime time news shows promoting the story. Were Britney's breasts real or fake, the reporters all wanted to know. She very solemnly told them that they were, in fact, real.
My mouth hung opened as I watched my friend being interviewed. I was mortified for a woman was too talented for this kind of reporting. She shouldn't be writing about Britney Spears breasts! She should be exposing crime and corruption. This was beneath her. This was beneath everyone. What does it matter?
"I can't believe this is news. I can't believe people care about this," I said to my husband.
A few hours later, no one cared about Britney Spears' breasts. A few hours later, it seemed as if no one would ever care for such piffle again. How could we? How could things ever be the same? We'd never be so frivolous. We'd only care about things that mattered.
Eleven years later, we still remember. We Tweet about it. We change our Facebook profile pictures.
But that stuff we cared about eleven years and one day ago, we care about again. Is O.J. Simpson Khloe Kardashian's father? Will Jessica Simpson lose her baby weight? Is Blake Lively pregnant?
These are the stories that are trending on Yahoo today. We haven't forgotten, but we are living like it never could happen again. Maybe we should take some comfort in our fascination with nonsense. Who wants to live on edge in a state of high alert? I suppose a certain degree of attention to meaningless pop culture is an indicator of national health and safety. Odds are, right now in Syria, no one is wondering about Khloe Kardashian's ancestry.