April 24th, 2005

Me pink

April 24th

April 24, 1990.

Fifteen years ago, my whole life changed.

April 22, 1990 was the 20th anniversary of Earth Day and a big group of us from Antioch had gone to New York City to partake of the festivities on Sunday, and then shut down the stock exchange on Monday.

The Stock Exchange action was monumental. Fires in the streets, mass arrests ... a day long action with thousands of Greens and anarchists from around the country. Monday evening, the Antioch folks met up to decide: do we head back to Ohio tonight, or stick around in New York til morning. I had a class on Tuesday that I didn’t want to miss (geez, what a dork), so I voted to leave that night. Majority ruled, and we headed back to Ohio.

There were various cars and two college vans – twelve seaters, each filled to capacity. We split the vans up: one smoking and one non-smoking. Guess which one I rode in?

John drove us out of the city, and then settled in to sleep. Then Todd took over. I rode shotgun the entire time. The night wore on – I kicked my shoes off, settled in. Liora lay down on the floor between my seat and the driver’s seat. Sometime early in the morning, we switched drivers again – John, fresh from sleep was at the wheel, once again. Me, I hadn’t slept, and as we entered Ohio and the sun began to rise, I started to drift off.

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* * * * *

So that’s what happened on that day. What happened inside of me is a much larger question.

I was 19 years old. A little punk rocker. Gonna go out and change the world. Something in me changed on that April morning. I got the fight knocked out of me.

It was maybe not so tangible at first ... as a matter of fact, I guess I went through PTSD for the first six months or so afterward – there are huge gaps in my memory from that time – events, people, all forgotten. And other things, like the fact that that’s when I started having night terrors.

It’s funny. That accident changed me in such tangible ways, and yet I feel ill-equipped to explain them. My life now is still divided into “Before” and “After,” much as it was then. Nothing has ever felt quite the same. I doubt it ever will.

Anyway, I felt strongly that I wanted to mark this anniversary, remember this day, and I suppose I’ve done the best thing that I could do, which is to share the story.