Last week at dinner when it was daughter Eva’s turn to share highlights and lowlights of her day, she was nearing the finish line and then suddenly stops and goes, “OH I FORGOT. There’s a really sad story.”
“What is it?” I said, in a wide-eyed over-exaggerated childlike way, to mirror her dramatic setup.
Then she unloaded with this crazy story she learned from her kindergarten teacher at school.
“One day, there was a bad guy. And he took a plane, and he CRASHED it into a building. And it died so many people. And even people on the ground were died too, because of the building crashing. It’s really, really sad.” [Eva makes face pouty here.]
Upon realizing what she was telling us, Matt and I looked at each other and he responded by saying something like, “Yes that was really really sad. And those people shouldn’t have died.” (I’m not sure Eva realized this was an actual event that happened until that point, in which her dad brought his personal memory of 9/11 into the conversation and made that connection for her, whether we should have or not.)
Then I go, “The guy who crashed the plane into the building died, too.”
And immediately Eva comes back with, “But he WANTED to die. He flew that plane knowing he was going to die.”
A week later I am still stunned to hear the 9/11 story recounted to me by my five-year-old as a distant story, and not something real that she experienced in her lifetime. And also stunned that she processed all of this and they talked about it at school but I guess you’re not supposed to shelter small people from news … but still, yikes. I keepl turning over this whole scene in my head, and the adorable way she said, “And it died so many people.” Because I don’t even know if she has ever used the verb “kill” before. Sigh.
The guys from HBO’s Entourage would often just drop into Vegas for an evening, so when Friend Matt said to come on out for his birthday weekend, I called Friend Liz, she said “I love this” and on Saturday, we hopped on a flight.
Knowing we would meet many folks for the first time, I joked on our flight out that I wanted to be called “Kenneth.” It cracks me up when people are named one thing but then go by something totally random.
So during introductions, I said, “I’m Elise. But you can call me Kenneth.” Our new pal, Owen, got the joke right away and made up some name he, too, would go by. The gals next to us also seemed to catch on, laughing gamely. It was amusing for about two minutes before the conversation shifted and the ol’ Kenneth gag was history.
To communicate with his dozen friends in the desert, Matt used a group texting service in which the sender’s name precedes his or her message. I participated in the texting, as did the others, through 24 hours of eating and drinking and dancing and confetti and brunch.
When it was time to head home, we shared a cab to the airport with a gal who sat next to us at dinner the night before. We were discussing the group text system and this is what followed:
Her: Who’s Elise Hu? She seemed pretty talkative on the texting but I can’t remember who that was. She must have been quiet in person.
Me: I’m Elise.
Her: But I thought you were Kenneth.