The first 17 years of my life were spent in Lancaster, California - a desert city, about an hour outside of Los Angeles - perhaps most famous for its proximity to Edwards Air Force Base (think Chuck Yeager and the occasional redirected space shuttle landing); that and Joshua trees. I was sent to a private Christian school solely for the education it provided but could not avoid the Christian-Right views that were being instilled in all the students. Compounding this, my grandfather was California Republican party chairman from '89 to '91 and my dad joined the middle class supervising production of Lockheed's F117 under Reagan's massive military spending spree. All this to say my views are underappreciated at family dinners.
Kurt Cobain and 9/11 changed my life. I discovered the music of Nirvana years after Cobain's suicide in 1994 and couldn't help but become obsessed. I quickly snatched up all the albums and singles, b-sides and demos that I could find. Unsatiated, I began reading biographies. In those books I discovered punk rock, DIY, and a taste for the anti-corporate. The Rolling Stone cover with Kurt wearing a homemade t-shirt that read "corporate magazines still suck" taught me a lesson that I'm only now beginning to understand: it's a struggle not to be part of the system but you can still fight against it.
9/11 was the first day of my senior year. The future was blindingly bright. Months earlier the whole class was cruising around Philahelphia, DC, and NYC on our senior trip. We drove pass the World Trade Center. The overcast weather obscured the top third of the towers. They looked limitless, as though they stretched into outer space.
I woke up that morning, the attacks were already over. There was no word from the government as to what was happening. The news was making its usual speculative noises, but the images were louder. When I got to school several of my friends were hanging around a car listening to the news. The announcer said they were receiving word it was a terrorist attack by some group we've never heard of. "Get ready guys, we're all going to get drafted now!"
Oh crap...class! I'll finish this up later...