Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I was.

I'm sharing this only because, in some way, it's bizarrely topical.

I enjoy Toronto. I enjoyed Boston. I enjoyed going to university in New Brunswick, a neat little burg in New Jersey. But in my heart and spirit I am and will always remain a New Yorker.

I have family members who came treacherously close to losing their lives ten years ago today, and it was only by a stroke of luck (or the calling of a Wall Street vendor's hot, salted pretzel) that saved them.

Like my mother did for years after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, many people are reminiscing about where they were at this moment, September 11, 2001, 8:46am. If you're interested, here's my story.

I was still with Heidi, the ex-wife, living in a fine house in bluecollar, rightwing Oshawa, Ontario. I had just recently acquired my Landed Immigration status from the United States, which meant that I finally able to legally work in Canada. While taking steps to finish the last few credits toward my university degree here and pursue some solid work, I sought for and grabbed the first quick piece of steady employment I could get as a short-term cash fix.

I found myself working in nearby Pickering, Ontario, co-managing an adult DVD rental and sextoy sales outlet for a small company called Adult Movie Warehouse. Not exactly the sort of work I would want to make a career out of, but I had experience in the adult field from my youth, working in sextoy outlets in Greenwich Village. And the owner loved me.

I had just opened the store for the day and was piping Howard Stern's radio broadcast. (Yes, yes, I know.) His program had just become syndicated in Toronto, and I was psyched to enjoy his material again after growing up hearing him on WNBC in New York when his career was new.

I was reorganizing adult DVDs in the store aisles when an elderly Asian fellow came in to browse. Stern and his crew had just begun interrupting their usual schtick to bring some news. It was at that very moment that I actually found myself trying to explain to this smiling, elderly Asian man that, very sorry, but no, the kind of porn he was looking for was not only unavailable in our store but was completely illegal in Canada. He grunted his disapproval and walked out as I stood on the floor, blinking a lot over this conversation that never, in all my previous experience in working in sex-positive environments, did I ever expect to actually have to have.

And then my ear tuned closer to Stern's broadcast, and it soon became very clear that this wasn't going to be one of his typically inflammatory shows. In fact, he and his crew actually proved themselves to be outstanding investigative journalists during the next few hours as they scoured the streets and relayed information live on-air.

I spent the rest of that shift mostly alone in that adult DVD store, standing behind the counter with my eyes wide open as I listened to all the details about what was happening Back Home.

No comments: