Today is March 10, 2009.
Some nine years ago, I was living in Savannah, Georgia. It was January 1, 2000, and the Y2K transition had gobbled headlines. But most computer systems sailed past the dreaded Y2K snafu without a hitch. The lights were still on, which meant the power had not gone out. Good reason to celebrate!
Fireworks were perfect for the occasion, and seemed easy to find in the South. My buddy Kent and I took a drive up to South Carolina on New Year’s Eve to pick up some fireworks. We had a fine time setting off in the empty lot across the street from the apartment. Hanging out with Kent meant I could forget about my life’s troubles for a bit, just hang out and have fun for a few days before getting facing work and life once again.
That wouldn’t be exactly fun or easy, but certainly necessary. I had been married two months earlier, but my marriage to Cassandra was off to a rough start. There seemed to be trouble in the humid Savannah air, whether it was having to get a peace order against my spouse’s ex-boyfriend, or the very unsettling news from my mother that she was fighting bone cancer and was unlikely to be able to attend our November 1, 1999 wedding. Sadly, some two weeks after the wedding, she succumbed after a failed bone marrow transplant. I’ll never forget sitting in her car — my mom’s car — which her sister Marty had driven to pick me up at Mitchell Airport, wondering why we were going to drive back to her house, when she was still at the “sick house” near the hospital…
In January of 2000, it was off to San Francisco to exhibit and present at Macworld Expo, and then back up to Wisconsin to deal with the funeral and the surprising number of grievers and well-wishers. At the reception following the memorial service, Cassie remarked to Kent that it was amazing to watch me work the room. “The crowd just comes to him,” she said.
My father, bless his heart, who went through a very nasty divorce with my mother some twelve years earlier, nevertheless came to the memorial service. People from my mom’s side of the family were happy to see him, even in this most peculiar circumstance. (He was obsequious in the end, if not to the end.)
I don’t recall at all what happened in Febuary of 2000. Work was all that likely happened, more plugging away at promoting and advancing LinuxPPC.
Time crept along. On March 10, 2000, I dropped Cassie off at the Savannah airport so she could visit her sister up in New England. I kissed her goodbye, figuring I’d have a quiet weekend to myself.
Late that night, I decided to head down to the restaurant I lovingly referred to as “DINER!” in honor of the huge yellow out in front that declared the restaurant’s true greasy nature to the world. I remember walking outside, looking at our cars, and chose to drive my little five-speed Honda Civic hatchback rather than the Eagle Vision that my father had given us a few months before. Why drive a car that was crippled with an automatic transmission when I was headed out for a night on the town? No, the little Honda was much more fun to drive. My late mother noted it didn’t have airbags. But with four cylinders of raw power under the hood, I sailed off into the night.
Earlier that night, another young man made the most fateful choice of his life. He’d been partying somewhere, his blood rich with alcohol, his perception as blurred as a work of abstract art.
Perhaps a block away from that treasured diner on Abercorn Street, traveling at a very high rate of speed, he slammed his wealthy father’s Chevy Tahoe SUV into the back of my little 1989 Honda Civic — the one my mother had warned me about.
My life ended at that point.
Some time in April, when I came out of the drug-induced coma that they kept me in, my life started again.
And I’m still here to tell you about it.