"hello from a nyc coffeeshop amidst inchoate autumn. too pretentious a way to start a bulk email? fair enough. it is 9/11 today. last night, after long rehearsal (refine! rebuild! reuse! recycle!), i attended a party meant to celebrate “fashion” where i felt woefully out of place. i, however, am not one to look a gift horse full of champagne in the mouth. so i grabbed a couple and began chatting up the most interesting looking person in the room. mike. a retired NYPD policeman formerly of the 13th precinct, guarding an empty table adorned with pop-culture detritus, now hired to do private security at functions where people like me feel woefully out of place. he was quick to laugh, easy to talk to, and could tell a story that had me alternating between stitches and tears. like a benevolent boxer who knows when to jab with humor and then land a right hook of poignance. (my father taught me how to box, which i had to stop for obvious guitar-hand-related reasons.) i asked him the questions every retired police officer must get: “what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?” “have you ever been shot at?”, etc. he said his favorite part of being on the force was being able to help people. starting the healing process. soon enough, he got to telling me about his experience of 9/11. how a female police officer from his precinct was the first to call in that a plane had hit the first tower. how the dispatch said, “what? a train?!” she perished that day while saving new yorker’s lives. how, when he and the other men and women in uniform raced down to the towers, pedestrians cheered them on, even chasing their squad cars to throw in water and protein bars. he said that he used to fret about money and retirement plans and 401ks, but that after 9/11, he realized the only thing that mattered is being with the people you love and being happy. so cheers to you, mike. cheers to you all. xx ac"