Right now, I am watching CNN, watching the news media get really excited about the potential showdown between the police and the bomber still alive from Monday’s terrible events at the Boston Marathon. Is it just me, or are some of these newscasters almost excited about this? It’s like I can see them thinking about the morning’s ratings. Calm down, it’s not your charisma that is keeping me tuned in, it’s about catharsis.
I work in the Back Bay area, in the Prudential Center. My office was open for business on Monday. For five years, I wander down to see the runners coming in. I am always awed and impressed by the Marathoners, especially the ones running not for the purse, but for a charity. In fact, women in our office, who are luckily unhurt, were running for the Stork Fund at BWH. If I hadn’t had a meeting run over, I would have been downstairs watching.
I was on the phone with a doctor arguing about budgets when the bombs went off. I actually didn’t hear them, but a few minutes later, I opened my door and heard someone asking if there were really bombs at the Marathon. I managed to see some tweets on Boston.com before it went down.
As we watched, parents were practically throwing their children across the street, people were running in terror into the traffic of Huntington and the Police were trying to create and maintain a sense of order. I seriously debated whether or leave or go, but it seemed better to stay because our building obviously had not been hit and the situation seemed hard enough to control without throwing more people into the mix. As we waited and watched, I was amazed that despite the rush and crush of terrified people, people were generally very orderly.
Information was scarce, because of the holiday, most of the building management was not in to give more information. I heard another explosion about an hour later. I waited until most of the people had stopped streaming across Huntington Avenue before leaving my building. As I was leaving, I learned that there had been another bomb they forcibly and safely detonated, the bomb I had heard. It was found right outside my building on the path I take home everyday.
Leaving the building, we still saw runners walking around in a dazed state, people with blood smears on their clothing and an eerie silence on the streets, broken only by sirens and police orders.
The next day, my office was open for business again (since I work with a hospital, if they work, we work). I was scared to return. I was scared that they hadn’t found everything yet. Walking in was eerie, I purposely took a different path into work so I wouldn’t have to walk past where I knew they found the bomb. Police and National Guardsmen were everywhere, blocking roads and collecting evidence.
The silence was eerie and oppressive. As I walked around during my lunch, I felt like I was in a ghost town. Normally I have to fight through crowds of tourists, conference attendees and fellow office workers to get anywhere. There are always huge lines at the restaurants and coffee shops. There is a scene in the Dawn of the Dead where a trio of survivors breaks into a mall and see zombies wandering around the mall with some muszak playing in the background. It’s an unsettling scene, something normal and yet so off. I kept thinking about that while walking around. Muszak playing in the background and people tiptoeing around the mall. Everyone trying to act normal when nothing was normal.
Even still, many entrances are blocked and there are barriers and police everywhere. It’s like working in a crime scene.
Each day, people return, each day it gets a little more normal. The barriers and police are still there in the background, but people return each day, so the barriers and police fade a little more into the background. The barriers haven’t come down, the roads are still blocked, but having people around makes it at least a little more normal, a little less scary.
The service yesterday was comforting. I thought Deval Patrick gave an excellent speech. As did that Imam, I have no idea what his name is, but he really gave a lovely, personal speech.
So fast forward to today. These misguided men have apparently been found. There is a showdown pending in Watertown with the younger of two brothers responsible for this horrible crime. It’s surreal.
I hope you are all safe. Please stay in your homes today and pray (if you do that) for the safety of the FBI and policemen and women trying to secure our city.
Anyway, I will post something normal tomorrow. I know I have been lax in posting for the last two months, but I promise to be more consistent! It’s been a rash of unusual events for me, vacation, extra work, a hospitalization with food poisoning…the list goes on.