The 9/11 post where we reunite

I was at the World Trade Center when it fell. Each year I write a post on 9/11. Here is the archive. Here is my post for today:

When Nino came back to live with us he came back in stages. We had been spending a few weekends together for a long time, but we hadn’t lived together in twelve years.

At dinnertime, we talk about when CD-ROMs were invented and there was no content to put on them. The kids ask us to tell the how-we-met story again.

Nino and I met in 1992. Which means we have known each other for almost 30 years. After we found each other, we found the Internet, and there was nothing on it. Literally. We won awards. Not for being great, but for being first.

“We met in LA as part of a group of people trying to figure out what nonlinear media would look like.”

Younger son: “What’s nonlinear media?”

“The Internet.”

Older son: “I thought you met when dad made a nonlinear video of you talking about your shitty childhood.”

“Yeah, well. It turned out nonlinear media is good for a lot of things.”

Were there were other times that were as crazy as when the Internet happened? We talked about how the transition was so fast and the opportunities were incredible — if you could keep up with the change.

We used to make fun of journalists who wouldn’t let their stories run online or filmmakers who said they’d never do digital video. You could see a person’s future by how hard they pushed back in the present.

Covid seems that way now. The change is happening so fast and if you can keep up then you can see what will be permanent — that’s where the opportunity is. I tell myself I’m great at adapting to change and I need to be open-minded and nimble. Maybe I should pivot now. Or maybe I already did when Nino rejoined the family.

We eat breakfast together every morning. It started out because the boys were so excited to see their dad. Now it’s because the apartment is too small to sleep when anyone else is eating.

I say to Nino, “It’s 9/11 today. Do you think about stuff on 9/11?”

He said, “Do you mean do I have a quote for you for your blog?”

“Oh, come on. Just something.”

“How about writing about your hot take on Covid and 9/11?”

“I’m already on that.”

Older son adds: “Are you going to add the meme about 9/11 being a gender reveal party?”

Me: “My blog is not a YouTube channel for bored teenagers.”

Older son: “Well it doesn’t have to be a video.”

Nino: “What about that more people will die from Trump ignoring Covid than from Bin Laden’s terrorism?”

Me: “Can I use that on my blog?”

Nino: “No! I’m just guessing.”

Older son: “To be fair, she does that on her blog every day.”

Me: “Shut up. Everyone shut up. This is not helpful. My post on 9/11 has to be heartfelt.”

Younger son: “Then just write about CD-ROMs because you always get all gushy.”

When Nino arrived here in March, the most drastic of my Covid symptoms were over, but I was still so grateful to see him. He is my person for going through the hardest times. I fell in love with him while he glided through the emergence of the Internet with artistry and grace.

On 9/11, right after the buildings collapsed, I assumed I was dying. My mind was clearing itself. I guess that’s what happens right before we die. I was sorting through loves and regrets. It turned out those are the same because I loved Nino so much and I was so sad that I wouldn’t get to see what the rest of our life together would be like.

Now here we are. Living through a pandemic together. With our children. I am so so lucky.


41 replies
  1. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Moving post. Sometimes you really upset me and get under my skin in a bad way, but I like also being challenged and so I continue to follow and posts like this get under my skin in a good way! Made me tear up at the end. Thank you.

  2. Maura
    Maura says:

    All these people dying from Covid because Trump ignored the problem? Wrong. FACT CHECK. Trump suspended flights from Europe and China way early on when Biden and others were dismissing the threat. This blog has shown such disdain for honesty and respect for our country and the office of president I feel dirty reading it. I think it’s time to stop. It’s sad. Please Penelope, now that all the world is virtual, and you seem eager to be one of the “early adapters,” do your readers a favor and set up shop to work remotely from Venezuela and get a good feel for the country you prefer that this one turn into. That’s the socialist depravity you endorse when you and your annoying kids put down Trump. You don’t deserve to live in the United Sates. But the same lack of morals and standards that have landed this family in a tiny hovel, a broken home, a scrappy mother who wants better for her kids but who is blindly voting for communism. How much will it matter if your kid becomes the super star chellist in a communist world? which you all apparently prefer by your bashing of our founding fathers and all that is capitalism. Olympic Gold Romania Gymnast Nadia Comenici risked her life to live in the United States. She had achieved the pinnacle of world recognition in her sport yet she fled the country that provided all of her FREE training, FREE housing and prestige for this disgusting country of prejudice slave owners. WHY?? Why would anyone who was esteemed so highly in her own land risk her life to leave it? Obviously for something good that has eluded you delusional liberals. 9-11. Something Donald Trump is giving his all to preserve.

    Who ran into the buildings to save lives? The BLUE LIVES that are often also BLACK LIVES and that matter and that TRUMP defends and supports and are a necessary part of a safe, civil republic. Wake up Penelope.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        There aren’t very many. But this person is a subscriber. I am fascinated that people with such a wide range of opinions subscribe. It takes a pretty open mind to subscribe to this blog. So I try to let every comment through.


      • Maura
        Maura says:

        There is no Q-anon. I actually had to look that term up. There is just truth about the intermingling and financial interests of media, powerful families like the Bush family who are supposedly conservative. They aren’t. They’re globalists. The Republican politicians hate Trump. Mitt Romney hates Trump, he’s as conservative as they come but he’s a globalist sellout too. Trump is the non-politician disruptor that all the corrupt politicians hate. He’s actually on your side and you don’t know it.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Why not just unfollow someone you do not agree with? There is no place for your disdain here. It’s totally unacceptable

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      I’ve often disagreed with you Penelope, but I cheer you for allowing an opinion different from your own to stand. I feel it’s our only way out of 2020. We need to hear opposite opinions because the truth is in the middle.

    • Angie
      Angie says:

      Maura, does Trump’s admission that he knew how serious the virus is and downplayed it anyway change your thoughts at all? I mean, he essentially admitted that he ignored the problem.

      • Maura
        Maura says:

        Follow the actual recommendations from
        Fauci, CDC, They ALL minimized it- they did nothing but criticize Trump for stopping all flights from China. Too bad Hunter snd Joe weren’t trapped in China. I hope you’re reading about the illicit business dealings between the Bidens snd china. The private equities firm Biden was able to establish with the Chinese. Even though hunter never could hold a job, not even at Amtrack, he scored an equities deal that Goldman Sachs and UBS couldn’t get. How is that? Well I guess it’s worth it to the Chinese to have access to control over America via Joe Biden more than its worth trying to make money on wall street with professionals.

    • Shannon Graham
      Shannon Graham says:

      Oh my god, Penelope, delete them, please. My company gets 10 messages a day from plandemic weirdos, none of them are productive, they’re worth nothing, do not engage, delete delete delete.

    • Cindy
      Cindy says:

      Thank you, Maura,
      I agree with you. It’s 4:30 am, and I’m just waking up, so that’s all I have to say. I appreciate you speaking up to defend our country.

  3. harris497
    harris497 says:

    Thanks for the ride. This post makes me think of a quote by Walt Disney, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again.”
    This is the allure of your blog. I do not always agree with you, but I must keep coming back to see you practice your craft. Additionally, you make me think…


  4. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    I’ve been wondering if this might happen. I thought maybe I was just being a romantic idealist. I am ecstatic for all of you and happy to finally read a feel good story for once lately…congratulations!!!

  5. Anna
    Anna says:

    Love reading your articles, I have done so for years as our lives and loves have seen many parallels. I am very happy to know you are content. I’m a Brit but today never fails to stop me in my tracks. I will clearly remember where I was when it all happened, thousands of miles away from your own terror. Sending you my love and best wishes.

  6. Jenwithben
    Jenwithben says:

    I love the dialogue here —you are all big picture and meaning and your men are straight honesty. 9/11 is now becoming a distant memory like CD roms—but ultimately any time life is tough (covid ahem) we realize what really matters. And what matters is really the people we love. I’m so happy for you.

  7. Sheila
    Sheila says:

    Your writing never fails to pull me in, even when I disagree. Like others, I am over the moon at the reunification of your family.

  8. Ru
    Ru says:

    I’m so glad you have nino with you, however long he stays this time. Someone who knew you before you became Penelope trunk the writer, the serial start-up founders, the mother, the blog person. It is joy to have history with someone for that long and still think they are interesting enough to write about.

  9. Bart
    Bart says:

    I probably disagree with about 90% of what you write and what you stand for. Bashing Trump needlessly again for a virus that was not his fault and that no country nor world leader has any idea how to handle. How many deaths would we have if Biden was in charge? Can pretty much guarantee it would be similar – possibly more if they left the border open longer than Trump….

    That said, I read this blog to try and understand and get a grasp of those viewpoints different than my own.

    I believe that nothing is more important than family. Nothing. I am genuinely happy that your family somehow has come together again and you have found some peace and happiness and love. I hope your family – in whatever unconventional way it is – manages to remain close and supportive and loving.

    Hold onto it with everything you have.

  10. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    Add me to the list of people happy to read this post. I hope your togetherness lasts.

    It’s funny to think about 1992. The infancy of the internet. “Cyberpunk” fiction, written by people who knew absolutely nothing about computers, had us prepared for incredible things. Wild predictions of “disintermediation” approached religious fervor. And the contrasting reality: dial-up modems paid by the minute, and the line-mode browser. We sent and received emails through Pine. The internet was then really nothing that hadn’t been on every mainframe for decades already, just linked together better. The changes didn’t really begin until Mosaic came out in 1993.

    Nino seems like a real mensch. Next time you think you’re fed up with him for some reason, remember who came when you needed someone.

    • h
      h says:

      I still miss 1992, especially the 1992 internet. And Pine. I think that’s a lot of what brings me back to this blog.

  11. Recruitment News Link
    Recruitment News Link says:

    That said, I read this blog to try and understand and get a grasp of those viewpoints different than my own.I believe that nothing is more important than family. Nothing. I am genuinely happy that your family somehow has come together again and you have found some peace and happiness and love. I hope your family – in whatever unconventional way it is – manages to remain close and supportive and loving.

  12. Milena
    Milena says:

    Hi P! I followed your blog years ago, then stopped, then rediscovered it recently with a new understanding of myself, quite certain I’m probably Apsie. Anyway, that’s not my point.

    I just recently read your post about people with Asperger’s needing a life partner and a job. As far as I remember from reading you years ago, the Farmer also had Asperger’s. Now I’m wondering if Nino is also on the spectrum or is “neuro-typical”?

    And finally, to get to my main point and question: Do you think that other Aspies or neurotypicals are better for people with Asperger’s? Or it doesn’t matter and it depends on other stuff? Sorry if you have written about this and I haven’t come across it yet.

    Thank you for everything you have done to help people. Thank you is extremely mildly put. <3

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