It would be impossible to write a list of memories without mentioning September 11th 2001, one of the most dramatic and lifechanging events in post-War history. The simple fact is that for about half of that afternoon I had no idea at all what was going on.
In fact, I was in court, in front of my least favourite judge of all time. I am not going to name them here, because I might still have to appear in front of them and don’t want them to be any more prejudiced against me than they already are.
This judge had been married to a partner in the firm that I worked for at the time. They had now divorced and the judge basically had it in for anyone who worked there. Some judges take the view that they are there to help the judicial process along. Others take the view that they are there to make life as difficult as possible for everyone. This was the latter kind. With a grudge.
When I got back to the office after another bout of verbal jousting, in which I tried to find about seventy different ways to say “Your hostility towards my firm is blinkering your judgment in this case. Stop ranting and look at the facts”, I was not surprised to be greeted by members of staff saying things such as “You survived then?”. In fact, I actually won on most of the points that I had to make, so was pretty happy and keen to tell everyone so.
It was then that someone enlightened me. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find out more details, as the internet slowly ground to a halt under the weight of all of the online traffic. It changed all of our lives forever – even the judge became a little more humane (although recent experience suggests that the humanity has now gone altogether) – and a number of people, myself included, spent several days trying to contact an old school friend who worked in the World Trade Center (he turned up on a beach in the Caribbean, blissfully unaware of the fuss he had caused). But it does mean that, whilst many people only remember those tragic events a few times a year, I am reminded of them every time I encounter that judge. Which is just one more reason to wish that they would retire right away.