Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Yesterday at around 3:00pm, there were two explosions in the middle of Boston.

I was in the living room, finishing up some work and answering emails. I had ESPN on in the background, and they had been discussing the impending NFL Draft all day. I was barely paying attention anymore. Suddenly the words "Breaking News" appeared at the bottom of the screen, and the story switched to the Boston Marathon and the two bombs that had gone off.

I'm not sure of the correct words to describe my reaction as I looked up at the TV. I'm not from the city itself, but it's the closest Metro Area to Manhattan, and I've visited multiple times. I went there with my family as a kid, and ever since I met Ginntastic and all her friends, I've made several trips there as a (chronological) adult. I've embarrassed myself at Fenway Park and pronounced all the stops wrong on the T. I've gotten drunk in at least ten different bars and then been molested by Ginny's cat. Boston sports fans are rabid, which is great for me but is also a major fail because they all love the Pats and the Bruins. I have so much respect for Boston, its culture, its people and its history, and yesterday's events hit me hard.

The bombing became ESPN's main story on Monday, probably due to it being sports-related. I remember hearing Ginny talk about this every year- Marathon Monday, a holiday in the Boston area, where everyone basically gets wasted and watches the runners cross the finish line. It's especially fun for her because she works right across the street. As soon as the story splashed across ESPN my first thought was "GINNY." I called her and her phone went to voice mail. Then I sent her a text and when she didn't answer me within five seconds I freaked. Luckily, thirty seconds later, she texted me back to reassure me that she was, in fact, OK, as were the rest of our friends. Ginny was stuck in her office due to closed streets and downed T lines, but she was fine. Maybe this makes me selfish, but that knowledge helped me relax just a little bit. Ginny and the rest of the Nip Clique are such a hugely important part of my life- it's even because of Gin that I started blogging. So you can all blame thank her for that.

Later that night I was on the phone with my brother- ironically, it was also his birthday yesterday- and we were discussing the rash of emotions that we were both experiencing. We were angry, yes, and sad, but my brother brought up an excellent observation: are we still at the point where we as people are shocked when these acts happen? Late night host Craig Ferguson, who usually opens his show with the line "It's a great day for America," chose instead to start the program with this monologue below:

Comedian Patton Oswalt also opted to make a strong statement, posting this on Facebook. Entertainment Weekly... well, they took to Twitter to advertise their new Man of Steel pictures. Not everyone can convey their sympathies in such a moving and poignant manner as one of the top selling magazines in the country.

When 9/11 occurred, I had just started college and my brothers were in high school. My father was in a meeting at the time, and I remember that what was supposed to be a short drive home to his family turned into a 5-hour excursion. Cell phones were down, so we had no idea how to reach him and when or if he was even coming home. My mom came over to sit with us and wait for my dad to walk through the door. I can't recall ever being so elated and relieved to see anybody, before or since.

The 9/ll attacks are the first incident that I really remember affecting myself, my family and my friends the way that they did; being so close in proximity and mentality. I can only imagine what Boston must be going through, especially after the third explosion. They're probably in the mindset that their city is a danger zone, set to go off at any moment.

My brother and I are pretty much in agreement with Craig Ferguson- he is not the only one who is sick of this shit. While a fatality number of three may not seem that high, keep in mind that that number still isn't zero. One of those three was an eight-year-old boy. There were families from Newtown in the VIP section who were no doubt still recovering from their own losses. It disturbs me to think that as a society, we are no longer stunned when these things happen. We know that they're horrible, and we cry, and feel disgusted, and devastated, but we're no longer surprised.

When the shootings in Newtown took place, I was in no shape to provide advice, but I did suggest attempting to go back to normalcy as soon as you were able. Spend time with the people you care about- see a movie, watch TV, work on your blog. I'm also going to say the same for this- do whatever you can to regain some sense of convention. I went for a run this morning, which is a natural occurrence for me in this type of Spring weather. However, it also seemed fitting in light of yesterday's tragedy. The burst of energy mixed with the familiarity of my iPod and the warmth of the sun on my back was just what I needed to lose myself, if only for a couple of hours.

I wish I could say that casualties like this won't ever show themselves again, but I can't, because they will. What I can tell everyone is that it helps to talk about these acts of violence, and to try to understand, and to let out our frustrations. We should also all remember that Boston is one of the most resilient cities in the country- they're not called Massholes for nothing. And have you seen those guys drink?

At any rate, we all need to stay safe and stay strong. Remember that we are better than this, and if all else fails, puppies are still adorable.



I think "if all else fails, puppies are still adorable" will be my lifelong motto. Thanks for that takeaway.

McGriddle Pants said...

Funnily enough I was working on my very own post about Boston when I took a break to read a few bloggys.

Yes, its so sad that we aren't really surprised anymore, and yet, we still are.

I just try to remember all the good things that come out during crappy times like this. This weeks over used "look for the helpers" comes to mind. I'd like to think I'd be one of the helpers in a siatuaiton like this, not the one peeing herself in the corner in the fetal position.

I'm glad all your friends are okay. I had a small twinge of fear myself, but all my friends were okay too. And now, I feel guilty since so many aren't

And crazy (are we soul mates?) as I was going for a run today, and I was whining to myself that I wasn't dont yet, I said a small mantra to myself "I'm running for those who can't. I'm running for those who had their legs blown off. I'm running for those who can never run again." Which gave me the strength to finish.

I think that may be my mantra every run now.