September 2010 Archives

There are remembrances springing up all over online and print media. People are recalling in vivid detail where they were nine years ago today.

But how many can remember the 10th of September 2001? Do you remember where you were or what you were doing on THAT day?

Being an elephant (in built, sadly, not necessarily in memory), I do.

It's not too much of a stretch though, because back then my days were quite monotonous with very little variation in my routine. Depression had already shrunk my world and confined me to the tiny Baltimore row-house I was living in at the time. But my mental state wasn't too awful just then. I had emerged from a horrible few years and was actually on a bit of an upswing.

My mom was still living nearby in suburban D.C., so I saw her every Sunday because it was her only day off. Spent most Saturdays with her as well. But since I was working from home, my weekdays were mostly spent indoors - no matter what the season. But I was working from home, and I was doing a job that I loved. I was starting to get extremely anxious though, because after about three years in the States, my mom was due to return to South Africa for good in less than a month's time (on October 1), and I was absolutely dreading that goodbye.

Despite my mom's pending departure and the separation anxiety, I was still doing okay. I had finally filed for the LIFE Act (a sort of amnesty act Clinton had passed right before he left office, so his idiotic xenophobic cowboy of a successor couldn't actually do anything about it) a few months before, so for the first time since arriving in the States I had genuine hope of at last becoming legal. I was writing a weekly column for a South African website... my first foray into online media. (My blog was not even glimmering on the horizon yet.) And I had an unusual job videotaping and transcribing several local television news broadcasts for a major 'electronic clipping service' in D.C. and then e-mailing them the transcripts. Isn't that great? Only in America will they actually pay you to stay at home and watch TV! 

I'll never forget that last Sunday before 9/11 either. My birthday had been less than two weeks before, and an ex boyfriend had phoned me from abroad to say happy birthday. (Don't be too impressed by that. He didn't remember because he was still pining for me. His is on the same day, so until the day he forgets his own, he isn't very likely to forget mine.) My mom and my former sweetheart, the American boy, were at this cosy French café for Sunday brunch. We were sitting inside and I told them what Birthday Buddy had said to me during the birthday phone call. He had asked me if I was sure about following through with my Green Card quest. Then he said that he'd had this horrible and - we didn't yet know, but eerily prophetic - dream. In it, he was on an international flight. Suddenly hijackers got up and asked every passenger with an American passport to stand up. When they did, the hijackers proceeded to execute them.

How strange and chilling is that?

So on that Sunday, I was telling my mom and the Yankee boy about Birthday Buddy's awful dream and how he thought it was indicative of the world's surging hatred for the US and especially the Bush Administration. For a while that day, our conversation was mostly about the odd dream and global politics.

On Monday, the 10th, I slept until about noon, as usual. I only started taping and working on the news at 5pm (sometimes I took on one or two of the noon broadcasts for extra money when they needed someone, but on that day I didn't) and since my editor at the SA website had gotten married that weekend and was off to the Caribbean on honeymoon, I had no column due. The Yank's birthday was going to be the next day (yes, his birthday is on the 11th), so for a while I fantasised about perhaps baking him a cake, but promptly dropped the idea, since the risk was simply too big that such a gesture from me would have caused him to die of utter shock - if not food poisoning.

That Monday was just as comfortably mundane as all my other Mondays; my time measured by whatever was on television. After a summer of reruns, a new season of Oprah had premiered just the week before, so I was watching the new show that day until 5pm, when I started taping my first news broadcast of the day. I always did the back-to-back news from 5 - 6pm and 6 - 7pm. I had a 10pm deadline to have the transcripts in by, so I usually started working on the 5pm show at 6pm, while taping the other show on the other television set.

Yank usually came home from the office at around 6 or 6:30pm. That evening was no different. He took care of dinner while I worked and then we ate together at around 8 while watching television. It was a lovely, normal night.  We discussed going out for his birthday. He didn't know if I'd manage to be able to go out what with work, but I assured him that I would simply set the tapes for 11pm. (I had already cancelled my 5pm - 7pm shows as a surprise to him, to be able to go out to dinner.) Summer was still lingering in mild nights and gorgeously warm, dry days, and on television, the weatherman had promised that Tuesday would be an equally spectacular day - perfect for a birthday celebration out. 

Later, after taping my 11pm shows, I remember watching Leno's Tonight Show monologue with the Yank. We both knew that I wouldn't be up in the morning to wish him happy birthday before he left for work at 7:30am, so like a good sport, he stayed up until just after midnight and went to sleep shortly after, while I started working my graveyard shift to get my transcripts in by my 2am deadline. After that, I was up 'til about 5, reading.

Later that morning, I was sleeping when the mayhem ensued in New York City and in D.C.. I remained in that blissfully unaware state until my mom somehow managed to get through the already-jammed mid-Atlantic networks to phone me awake at about 10am with the words: "Turn on the TV. The world has gone mad."

In a fog of sleepiness, confusion and shock, I did, just in time to see the South Tower of the World Trade Centre collapsing on live television in a plume of smoke, debris and fluttering bits of paper... It was 10:05am EDT on September 11, 2001.
(Disclosure: This entry has been in draft form for ages, so this actually happened considerably longer ago than just last Thursday. I'm drowning in work at the moment, so posting this is just a reason to procrastinate. I clearly shouldn't, because it's totally erratic and all over the place, but well... that doesn't usually prohibit me from doing something, does it?)

I've been mistakenly identified.

Or actually, to be more accurate: I was correctly identified blog name-wise, but then it quickly became quite evident that I was not the Red the person thought I was.

Confused? Yes, don't worry. So was I. (Then again, what's new? I'm always confused, because... well... it doesn't take much, does it?)

Okay, this whole mistaken identity business happened via e-mail. And wow, have I ever had a few strange e-mails these last (Update: not so recent anymore) few days! I've been solicited (for writing... but in a WEIRD way) AND I've been mistakenly identified. By someone in Canada.

But the e-mails haven't been all bad: I've also been notified via e-mail that I've won a novel - autographed by the author!!! - in a contest hosted by a local magazine. So now I've some snail mail and more reading to look forward to again. (Update: I've since received it, hurrah! And ha ha, in a strange coincidence, the author in question is Canadian too!)

The case of mistaken identity arrived in my in-box last (update: although not last anymore) Thursday.

The subject was a friendly 'hi' with absolutely no indication of the chilly domestic dispute that I was about to be confronted with in the body of the e-mail. Also, the sender has the same first name as a good, "real life" friend of mine who also lives in Canada. She is a writer too, so she is usually a bit more vigilant about capitalising the first letters in her 'hi's' - even her casual ones - but still, I was not alarmed yet, because my friend has two young daughters, and sometimes kids that you are in charge of (even when they're your own flesh and blood) can make you do strange things, such as letting your finger slip from the Shift key while you're in the process of typing e-mails.

In the body of the e-mail, I was "Hi'd" again. This time with the necessary capitalisation, so I still thought it was from my friend to me.

Then I (but clearly NOT me, it became clear soon enough) was informed that the writer was going away for a long  weekend and would be back on Sunday. Of course, I still didn't realise that it wasn't ME who was supposed to be told all this just yet, so I enthusiastically read on.

I was told that I was not expected to look after the cats - which at this point made me raise my eyebrows just a bit, because, for obvious reasons, my real-life friend, who happens to HAVE cats, won't ever ask me to cat sit due to the whole 'being on opposite side of the world from her and her cats' technicality. (And not necessarily because I'm a Dog Person who won't even BEGIN to know how to skin a cat, and apparently there are many ways to do that. Proverbially, of course. I know that you're not REALLY supposed to do that when you cat sit. Or at any other time. Anyway, it's not even an issue, because I can't even peel potatoes either.)

Also though, aren't cat owners always bragging that cats are so high and mighty and superior that they can practically take care of themselves? Which HA! She then smugly proceeded to allude to, because she said that she'll leave them enough food and water. (Water? I thought cats drink milk. Or has the unfriendly Canadian climate made the cats over there lactose intolerant?) However, despite her smugness, it became apparent during the very next sentence that not even felines can be trusted to entirely fend for themselves, because then she said she hopes that I - but not quite me, as I'd figured out by this time -  would please send her a text message if something serious were to befall the kitties.

Cat care/self-sufficiency out of the way, she then addressed another issue - in a completely non-catty way. She said that she didn't know how I (but not me) felt about everything (perhaps she should've narrowed that down, I thought, because 'everything' is well... a bit broad, isn't it? Surely no one knows how anyone else feels about EVERYTHING?), but that she thought it was awful how we were both being with each other.

"You never call. You never write..."  Okay, okay. She didn't really write that.

But she did call me an adult. (Awww. And also, the definitive clue that she was clearly NOT talking to/about me, then.) She then said some other things that made me suspect that the real Not Me is a dude.

Then she said we (meaning her and Not Me) only need to be cordial until she moved out. As proof of this impending move, she said that she would be packing in the next few weeks and be out by the 1st (of September), the date Not Me apparently requested. GASP! Not Me is throwing her out?!? In autumn? In Canada? That's just cruel. Even more cruel than Canadian cats not being allowed to have milk. (See? Even as a Dog Person I'm disturbed by this.) 

Oh, how do I know she is from Canada, you ask? Because she said 'eh at the end of every sentence and 'aboot' instead of 'about' a lot. Okay, not really. Because she was e-mailing from her work account, which had her employer's name and address listed. In Canada.

I e-mailed her back immediately. Explained that I am not Not Me. And told her that she needed to actually call Not Me to tell him about the cats. Since, you know, she clearly has the wrong e-mail address for him (due to all that not talking that they've been doing) and that he clearly needs to know that they could possibly have a catastrophe on their hands if, for example, he also decided to go on a long weekend? Possibly with the other woman. Who he's probably going to allow to move in with him as soon as this one is out of there.

I never heard back from her. (Even though I said nothing about the imaginary other woman I had conjured up. I also did not use the word catastrophe, honestly. Even though I was a bit tempted to.) Then again, perhaps she thought I WAS Not Me merely pretending not to be Not Me? And thought that Not Me was playing immature games with her? Which hopefully made her more furious and less sad about being thrown out by Not Me? In the Canadian autumn? 

Anyway, I wonder if she did end up moving out on time? And whether the cats survived their long weekend home alone with (or without?) a callous and careless, and possibly cheating, Not Me?

And if so, who will now get catstody??

I hate it when a case of mistaken identity leaves so many unanswered questions...  


Oh, never mind this.

Apparently not everyone is deterred by my fat (but deceptively youthful) face. A 45-year old man has just asked me out. As in, on a trip out of the country OUT.

I declined.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I WANT to travel again. Yearn for it, even. But that is a tad too much of a time commitment for a first date, no?

I'm not that picky, I swear. But whatever happened to good old dinner and a movie?

is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
  • Terra.Shield : OH! ... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: Be a bit like serving drinks at AA?... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Ms. Crazy Cat Lady Pants!!! Squeeeee! Sooo good to see you! (I thought NO ONE was bothering to read ... [go]
  • Ms. Pants : Kitties don't get enough credit sometimes. (All times, if you ask me, but I'm a Crazy Cat Lady.)... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Hey Tamara! I know, right?? That is a tough act to follow indeed. I adored that dentist. He used to ... [go]
  • Tamara Tipton : Well, I am not sure how any dentist could live up to that standard! LOL! I hope your appointment was... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
  • Po : Those questions run through my heads for various times in my life too, that is for sure!... [go]
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