Thanks to everyone who participated in our new and improved Understandably Live yesterday. You can find the video of the interview with author Toby Harnden here. (We’ll have some great announcements about more interviews, coming up soon.)
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. At the risk of stating the crazy-obvious, that means today marks the 20th anniversary of The Day Before 9/11.
This is an important date. It gets overlooked, but it was the last day “before we knew.”
I remember a lot of details, myself. I had just moved to Los Angeles to pursue my then-dream of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter. I needed to make a living, though, and September 10 was the first day at my new “day job,” working as a lawyer at the federal building in downtown Los Angeles.
Things I recall:
Being the only passenger on the subway to work at 7 am. (The subway, in Los Angeles? I found this amusing.)
My new boss keeping me in his office for hours, asking questions. He’d never had the chance to interview me before I got the job. I don’t think he liked that.
Eating lunch at a Korean barbecue place. Some coworkers took me there. It had a “B” rating from the Department of Health, but the food tasted good.
Perhaps related? My new colleagues advising that the men’s room at the nearby federal court was much cleaner than the one in our building.
Thinking about how I was going have to make sure I got out of the office on time that first day, so that I could make it across town to UCLA in time for the screenwriting class I’d already started taking.
Anyway, the things that I dreamed about and worried about back then—well, I wouldn’t say they didn’t matter. Many of them did. But looking back today, my big lesson is that they all worked out—one way or another. And that I had a wildly different perspective on them just 24 hours later.
My wife sat next to me last night as I wrote this. She lived and worked in NYC in 2001. Her 9/10 story? Work, then Yankee Stadium, but the game between New York and Boston got rained out.
So she hung around with friends for a while, but then headed home, since she had jury duty the next morning. As a result, on the morning of 9/11, she was in the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center.
All of this is leading up to … a Friday call for comments. In short, we’re all going to be talking about 9/11. But I’d like to hear your 9/10 story.
What were you doing then? What were you planning or hoping for? What were you worried about, if you can remember? Did those things really matter in the long run? And what do they tell you about what’s really important today?
7 other things worth your time
President Joe Biden ordered new vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans (private-sector employees, healthcare workers, and federal contractors), in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant. “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said, talking about people who haven’t voluntarily gotten vaccinated. (AP)
The Los Angeles board of education voted Thursday to require students 12 and older to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend in-person classes in the nation’s second-largest school district. (AP)
After postponing the reopening of its offices to September, and then October, Microsoft now says it will delay the return indefinitely. "Given the uncertainty of COVID-19, we’ve decided against attempting to forecast a new date for a full reopening of our US work sites," Jared Spataro, a corporate vice president, wrote in a blog post. (Fox 5 NY)
Smoke alarms went off on the Russian portion of the International Space Station early Thursday morning and astronauts reported a smell of burning plastic. There appears to be no emergency and a planned space walk for the day was still scheduled. (ABC News)
Amazon said Thursday that it will start covering tuition and books for more than 750,000 staff to pursue bachelor’s degrees at various universities nationwide. The e-commerce giant joins other retailers, restaurant chains, garbage haulers, and meat processors dangling the prospect of a free college education as a way to lure and retain staff in a tight US job market. (WSJ)
A Florida man upset over unfixed potholes in a local street planted a banana tree in one to make his point. (USA Today)
Speaking of 20 years ago and 9/10/2001, here’s video from a tourist who happened to visit the World Trade Center itself that day.
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.