Tuesday, June 08, 2004

where were you?

Everyone has those times in their life when they clearly remember where they were. Like when Kennedy was shot... or Reagan... or even when the space shuttle exploded.

For me, my time was when OJ was fleeing to Mexico.

This year is the 10th anniversary of Nicole Brown's murder and I can't believe how the time passed so quickly! That afternoon, we were gearing up to go ice skating in Costa Mesa. Sarah's boyfriend had landed a sweet gig at the rink that let him have access to the place after his hockey practice, and it also meant free skates for us.

She was forever trying to set me up with his friend, Josh, a weird guy by any definition, but hey! I was 16 and what did I care? So, we had it planned. We'd get there just before the last session ended and then we'd have the rink to ourselves. We planned to pick up Megan and then head out, so we loaded into the Sable and set out on the 405. Only the traffic was dead-stopped. What the hell? So we bailed off the freeway and took side streets, remarking on what kind of accident could close down 16 lanes of freeway traffic. Yikes. So we flipped on the radio news channel as we drove... only to hear about OJ. He was passing through our fair county on his way to Mexico. Reportedly racing through in a white Bronco with police tailing him everywhere. Traffic was stopped and diverted as they waited for him to act. There was a suicide plea and a threat to the officers, so all of us had to suffer the misery of LA-like traffic while OJ made his way through town.

It was surreal. Not only was the freeway virtually closed for the first time ever, but a suspected murderer was sharing the lanes.

When we got to the rink late, we explained what was going on out there. Everyone was abuzz "OJ who?" "the guy from the Hertz commercials?" "The guy from Naked Gun?" "Wasn't he in Airplane?" "That guy?"

It was the beginning of the Trial of the Century that would forever consume Orange County. Now, 10 years later, in the aftermath of the Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson cases, OJ is receeding into the background. Sort of. He popped up this week to express how he is sometimes "angry at Nicole" for not "being there" for her kids. I don't care what you think - that guy is GUILTY and I only regret that I hadn't driven my little car out onto the 405, stopped myself in the middle, and refused to let his stupid ass pass by. But instead I had a date at the ice skating rink.

It also made it even more close-to-home when Nicole Brown was buried at our local cemetery, which happened to back up to the tract of houses where my friends lived. We stood by and watched the procession go by and the flooding of the cemetery by the media. There was always the groups of kids at school, heading up to the grave site - just to see it. In death, she became somewhat of a local celebrity. Poor thing.

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