I have something to say. I have a lot of things to say.
But my mind is moving faster than my ability to sort things out and type right now. Faster than my ability to put structure to my thoughts.
I’ve been thinking about 9/11. And I’ve been thinking about 11/11. About children who hear their dads’ last words and children who don’t. Children who wonder.
When my parents got into long talks they had this convention they called the flag. Like, if my mom was telling a story and my dad had something to say but he didn’t want to interrupt, he’d hold up one finger and say: I have a flag. And my mom would say: Yes? And he would say: Flag that blue car. Or: Flag Boston. Or: Flag those chocolate chip cookies. Or: Flag your mother.
What it meant was…when you’re done with your story, remind me of this detail. Because I have something to say that relates to it. That’s connected. But only tangentially.
The flag worked well. It kept communication going, even when stories and ideas became impossibly convoluted.
And I need a flag today. I’m not in a conversation, I guess. Except that all these ideas are moving around inside my head and changing and connecting in ways I can’t control.
So I need a flag. I need many flags. I need you to flag 9/11 for me. And 11/11.
What I need to say will probably take several posts…and it will have to do with The Death of Ivan Ilych and the movie Biutiful and Let’s Roll! and Disney World and Peggy Noonan and blessings and legacies and heroes and myths and regular people. And it has to do with the Blason. And it’s about movies with hospital bed scenes and movies where people come out of their comas and are even a little better for the wear and about last words and about the need to know that the people who die before us are OK in their last moments. And it has to do with trees falling in the woods with nobody around to hear. And it has to do with people who tell you to get over it. And it has to do with my dad as my dad. And it has to do with remembering.
So please. Please flag all of these things for me. Because I have so much to say. And I’m terrified I’ll forget.