Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th


Omer, a friend from Israel took this the day after I first met him. He was a client on a sunset paddle at MKC. He had such a good time, he wanted to see more of the harbor the next day. Having been laid off from my job at Fiduciary Trust (based in WTC 2), with a very generous severance package, and being a part owner of a kayak company, I was being a kayak bum for the summer, so of course I said I'd be happy to guide him. He suggested 3 hours, launching at a certain time. I consulted Eldridge & discovered that the timing was perfect for a trip to the Statue of Liberty. So the next morning, off we went. This ended up being one of my favorite guiding memories, with a fun twist from the usual Statue of Liberty trip. He's a great guy and a strong paddler (an early client of the now very well known Terra Santa Kayak), so it felt more like paddling with a friend than Oh Gosh I'm Guiding - really relaxed. I'd timed it just right & we moved along so well that as we were coming back, we were way ahead of schedule. Terra Santa wasn't doing retail yet, it was hard to get good kayaking gear in Israel, so as we were paddling back up towards Pier 63, Omer asked where New York Kayak Company was. I pointed across the river to Pier 40 & said "Right on that pier. Want to go?" I was half joking but we ended up at Randy's shop where Omer was able to get everything he was after. As you can see, it was a beautiful day anyways, and that spontaneous shopping stop completely cracked me up.

Anyways, I think this was sometime in August. A couple weeks later, of course, I went for that outplacement workshop at WTC 2. Omer was of course back home in Israel by then, emailed me to see if I was OK. When he heard my whole story, he pitched in to help me recover by sending me every bad joke & funny video around. Oh my, there were some bad ones! :D

I'm smiling as I type that. A lot of people helped me get through in a lot of ways. Eventually there was counseling but all the people around me probably shortened those sessions a lot. Getting emails that made me laugh when I just wanted to cry all the time? Sounds silly, but you'd be surprised how much that helped.

He also sent me this picture. That did make me cry. What a summer that was. At least if I had gone that day, it would have been after a whole summer on the river.

That is all I have time for this morning. We are loading boats on the trailer at 6:00, I'm getting an early start at work today so I can do that. For the first few years, I developed something of a ritual of going downtown for a walk & reflection. Won't have time for that today. Life goes on, and that's how it should be. Being in a rush because I'm getting ready for a wonderful 3-day paddle with friends? That's just good.

If you are interested in reading about what happened to me on September 11th itself, there was an email I sent to friends and family that evening the next day*, just so that everyone would know. That's posted here.

Time to work now. Peaceful day to all.

*Looking at the email I realize that I wrote that the day after. The evening of Sept. 11th, I was up at my friends' Richard & John's place with another friend of theirs who couldn't get home, the guys rescued both of us, gave us a place to sleep, cuddly kitties to play with and good food. And it was good to be with friends. John made pizza; Richard and I worked on the logo for the original, Mayor's Cup kayak event, which we'd been planning at the time. OK, actually mostly he worked. But it was good to be doing something that night.

ps: Back to Smith Point Marina to Lake Montauk paddle: This is too funny. Not only will it be extremely well blogged with 4 bloggers involved (me, Stevie, Minh, and John) - apparently, WiFi, conditions & speed permitting, the trip is going to be Twittered.

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