I thought it was a bomb


Early this morning something blasted me awake; the house seemed to be shaking; then all was still. Earthquake? I thought, except it was already over. I fell back asleep, and didn’t think on it again until a friend asked me this afternoon, “So did you hear the sonic boom?”

Man, I wish I could go back and replay that moment, knowing that Discovery was ripping towards Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave desert — instead of the Kennedy Space Center, where cloudy weather forced NASA to switch to plan B. (If California had also been a no-go, plan C would have landed the shuttle in New Mexico).

“So did you hear the sonic boom this morning?” I asked my sister Erin, who has been living in Santa Monica for a year now (and just accepted her first American teaching job at a school in Highland Park).

“Yes. I didn’t know what the hell it was,” she said.

“So did you hear the sonic boom this morning?” I asked Dinora, our wondrous nanny, as the twins toddled naked around my study; Xavier was tossing his toys around and shrieking with glee (the kid has a good arm); Griffin was stealthily transporting my sandals to the wastebasket.

“I thought it was a car bomb,” she said, her dark eyes widening. “I thought, I have an enemy who blew up my car!”


My Yorkie terrier is doing better than expected. He underwent surgery and came back from the animal hospital many days later. When I went to collect him and pay up, the kid behind the desk whistled softly at the sight of the bill. “If it makes you feel any better,” he said, “There was a guy yesterday who paid twenty-one thousand dollars for his dog.”

“What was wrong with him?” I was referring to the dog, of course, although some might ask the same question of the guy.

“Stroke. But they managed to save him. He went home all fine and normal.”

Which left me to ponder: how much would it suck to pay a twenty-one-thousand-dollar vet bill and have your canine (a three year old lab, the kid informed me upon further questioning) die on you anyway?

“Poor scraggle,” my husband E said when he saw our own little beast later that night. Hobbes was curled up on the bed. He did not look his best. “You’re on your last legs.”

And yet he lives on. He even gained weight. He seems to be responding (knock wood) to the medication and his new low-fat diet; he’s running around and barking and making a pest of himself. He’s also losing his hair (thanks to the meds); I’ve never particularly wanted to see what a Yorkie looks like bald, but seems there’s a chance I’ll find out.


One of the blogs I read regularly is Paperback Writer, and her last couple of posts have blown me away, not just for the absolute nightmare situation she is in but her courage, compassion, and openness, sharing information and news links about an event that many people would choose to deny or downplay or hide (and who could blame them? Who could possibly?). The outpouring of support in her Comments section is gratifying to read.

For a moment I was tempted to write, I don’t know how a person gets through this, but that’s not completely true. My husband and I had to get through something of our own a few years ago, and it’s not like you have a choice in the matter. If you’re lucky — as we were, as I hope Paperback Writer is, as well as the other families affected by this — you have a landing net of friends and family who wrap round you, help you survive. I ‘get’ the importance of family now in a way that I didn’t quite get before — never paused enough in the headlong rush of my twentysomething life to think much about.

Which is another reason why I consider the twenties overrated.


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