As we approached the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I had some interesting thoughts on that.
There are times in ones life when you are completely disconnected from what goes on in the world.
We all know where we were and remember what we were doing when that first plane crashed into that first tower. Most of us remember that whole day,detail by detail. I do.
However, there are times in our lives when we are disconnected from it all. I am sure there were some people who totally did not know about the whole episode for hours, or days, or weeks.
Night workers who came home and slept the whole day. People on vacation who were away from it all. Campers and hikers in the middle of nowhere with no technology.
Sometimes you are so busy enjoying and living life that the events of day to day life pass you by.
Last December I went on a boat cruise from Miami to The Bahamas and back. As most of you know I spend a lot of time on facebook, for various reasons. But, I am one who likes to be disconnected from the electronic world at times. When I go for walks or to a movie or out with friends I don't bring any gadgets of any kind. I don't even have a cell phone and I certainly don't check my messages while I am out.
On the trip to Miami and then as we boarded the boat and waited to begin sailing, there was a lot of downtime. It would be easy to fall back into the trap of checking the net for e mails and any news going on around the world. There was a tv in the airport as we waited for the flight and there was internet access on the boat.
I did notice many on the deck of the boat who had their laptops out and were surfing. To me, if you are going to go on a trip like that, you focus on the things that trip offers. But, to each his own. I never did use any of that technology and was completely disconnected from the whole world outside the boat for 5 days. There was tv in the rooms and it did have cable which included CNN, but I didn't watch it.
Being disconnected from the outside world for 4 days means that whatever happens you have no clue. In reality, terrorists could attack cities and really you would not know..or care.
When you get back to your everyday life sometimes you find out things and sometimes you don't. Many things are old news by day 4.
That happened to me on that trip. Recently I was looking for videos of the CNE to show a friend of mine. As I was doing that I happened onto some videos of Mark Dailey. To almost all of you that name means nothing. To anyone who has grown up in Toronto the last 35 years, it means everything.
On December 10th, 2010 Mark Dailey died. To most of you reading this, that won't mean much of anything. Sure, it is sad to hear about anyone dying. But who is Mark Dailey? Nobody to any of you. To someone who grew up in Toronto and watched City Tv, Mark Dailey was somebody. And somebody who any Torontonian would know just by his voice.
He had a big barotone iconic voice with a signature phrase we all knew in Toronto. He was also much more than that. He was a local reporter and then host on the Citypulse news at 6, which he also did the lead in on.
Of course finding out a month ago that he had passed away last December got my attention, as he basically suffered the same fate as my mother. A relative healthy person who got cancer and went downhill very fast.
I met Mark Dailey once in a bar. He could sing, just a bit. He was a big guy. Very big guy. Just a nice normal guy though. Didn't act like he was the celebrity he was. Of course, that was long ago. His loss last December really means memories of my youth and certain events that happened while I was growing up in Toronto. It puts those events and the time frame in better perspective now that a major part of that memory is now gone.
This was not the first time I have been disconnected from the world. Back in 1995 I had just started a potential writing career. I had quit my crappy day job and spent most of my days writing. As most writers know, it is very easy to find ways to not write. Watch tv, surf the net, go out and party, clean the house. Many ways to avoid doing the work. Distractions abound. I found that I could not concentrate.
At that point, I made a conscious decision to disconnect from all forms of media. For more than a week, I did not listen to the radio, watch tv, read a newspaper or talk to any family or friends. I lived on my own at the time and I could get away with doing that. I had total quiet to sit and think and concentrate on my work. I had my dog to keep me company and go on walks with..and that was it.
After the week was up, I had gotten back on track.
Being someone who has always enjoyed the arts and media I did miss it. A few things happened that week. One I learned of right away, the other I didn't learn of until months later.
On April 19, 1995, a terrorist bombed the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City , killing 168 people. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. By the time I tuned back into the outside world, this was a huge story and it was easy to catch up on rapidly.
On April 23, 1995, Howard Cossell passed away. Like Mark Dailey, Howard Cossell was a huge part of every memory I have in every era I grew up in. From huge Boxing events, to Monday Night Football, to Game of the Week for Baseball on ABC to Wide World of Sports, he was an icon. I didn't find out about his passing until months later, and I realized why when I did.
Both events happened at about the same time, yet the reality is, for my everyday life, neither really made a difference. They were news and of course of interest to me, but my daily life would not change one way or the other.
Just as today, I don't feel the need to be connected all the time. In fact, I like being disconnected from the information machine, which with CNN and the internet these days means we are always in the know...24/7.
I remember one other incident that I didn't find out about for a few days.
In August of 1977, I was away camping with some members of my summer camp. Completely isolated and out of range of all media.
When we got back home, I learned that Elvis had died. Of course that was huge news, but the reality is that my life went on either way and if I didn't find out for a few days it really didn't matter.
It still doesn't.