Today is the ninth anniversary of Princess Di's death. It was late August 1997 and I had just moved to NYC. School was starting and I was trying awkwardly to make new friends. NYC was unbearably hot and the university housing office (the devil) had stuck me in the crappiest building. I had one square room off a hallway, with windows that opened onto the air shaft. The room didn't get any light or circulation.
I was never a fan of Princess Di. Didn't love her, didn't hate her, didn't care. Still, I remember exactly where I was when I heard about her car accident. It was night and I was riding in a cab through Central Park with a new friend. We were cruising through the park, on our way downtown to meet some other new friends. The cabbie had the radio on and the commentator said that Princess Di had been in a major car accident in Paris. Condition critical. My friend, a Korean girl from England (whose accent I found fascinating and a little hard to understand), and I didn't think anything of it. In fact, I think I said something callous and poked fun at the whole English royalty thing.
That cab ride is one of my earliest memories of life in New York. I remember the feeling of being in a new place. Of walking through campus and thinking that I was really, finally living in New York. Far away from anything familiar. A clean slate. I can't believe that was nine years ago.