Friday, August 31, 2007


In case you missed it (how would you have missed it?) today is the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. Which means it's time for where-were-you stories, and I think mine is particularly amusing, so I'm going first. I'd been in Norway since June, but most of that time I was in Oslo at summer school, learning to speak Norwegian. I got to Trondheim in mid-August, and was there just long enough to get into my apartment, be confused, pack again, go to work, and drive off to spend three weeks on the coast, where we were running a big experiment in a little cove. Man, it was beautiful there...if I had a scanner, I'd show you pictures.

So there I was, fresh out of college, limited social skills, everyone was speaking Norwegian, and I hadn't learned enough to even guess at the topic of conversation, most of the time. When people talked to me, they spoke English, obviously, but the rest of the time I was lost. So sometime in the afternoon on August 31, I was filtering some sea water outside when Matilde, whose English was about as good as mine, made some joke about how we should be wearing black armbands because Diana died. And I was like, who? What? And she was like, you didn't hear?

Come to think of it, it might not even have been Aug. 31. It could have been days later. I don't think we had TV there. I do remember puzzling through a tabloid article (in Norwegian) about it.

That pretty much kicked off three solid years of me not knowing what was going on around me. Ah, living in foreign countries. I love it, but it does cut you off from the world. Even when my Norwegian, and later my Japanese, got much better, following a conversation between other people was still the hardest thing.

Anyway. Anybody else have a where-were-you story?


grrrbear said...

I'd just gotten into my car at the metra station, having spent the day in the city. That, of course was when I was living in suburban hell.

I remember being sad about the whole thing, but also thinking "Oh crap. Now we're going to hear nothing but all the messy details about this for the next month." I was wrong, it went way longer.

Spice said...

J.Po and I were in our stint of homelessness prior to finding our first apartment in SF. We were basically living out of my car, which was so packed that J.Po had to get in the passenger seat, and then I had to place a lamp in between her legs. At that point we were crashing with A.Jam and Shan.Stro across the Bay - sharing their futon. We all stayed up very late to watch the famed memorial service.

Actually, we may not have been with A.Jam and Shan.Stro yet when Diana actually died, but we were definitely there by the time of the service. Do you remember, Po?

J.Po said...

Here is my memory: we were living at your apartment at YGAM. We went out for ice cream at the local 31 Flavors, came back, and discovered Diana was in the hospital post-car crash. Within a few hours, we learned she was dead. It was the first major event we experienced together....with many more to come, including the craptastic election of 2000.

BTW - the part about the lamp between my legs is totally true.

erin*carly said...

let's see . . . summer of '97 . . . the only thing i remember about the end of that summer is a birthday party of a girl i was vaguely friends with, but i was best friends with her friends. we toasted marshmallows over citronella candles in the street, making torches. i got a ride from my parents.

so yea. i was just entering my junior year in high school, and when they started making reports on the nightly news [that i always watched with my parents, ugh, FOX news] about this Diana lady over in England, i said, "that was NOT an accident, mom. by the way, who is she?"

Spice said...

I kinda thought maybe we weren't homeless yet - thanks for filling in my memories, Po!

Of course, I will never forget the famed showdown between happy Earths (Gore) and mean, pointy candy corn (Bush). And my refusal to take apart the election map for weeks.


J.Bro said...

This is far enough down the page that no one will actually read my response now, right? Because I was...uh...making the whoopy in my new dorm room. It was a mood-killer, I'll tell you that.

towwas said...

Nobody except for me, J.Bro.