In the days following 9/11, it wasn’t yet called 9/11. We just referred to it as “the unfortunate events that took place at the World Trade Center towers”. Fast forward to now, in the days following Marathon Monday. We could still call the day this past Monday, or Patriot’s Day, or the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Eventually, it will have a name, for movies’ and schoolbooks’ sake. But for now, it’s “the unfortunate events that took place at the 2013 Boston Marathon”. How proper of us.
To say that my life has changed in the last few days is an understatement. I don’t know any of the victims, and my group of friends remains unharmed. But I do live four blocks from the Boston Marathon finish line, and my city is a different place. There are policemen on my corner, army men at my T stop and I have to show ID to walk by my favorite Dunks. The last two nights, I’ve had dreams there was a picture on my phone the police needed as evidence. It’s hard to ignore.
I’d never thought twice about reaching into my purse for my cell phone until yesterday. On my way home from work, I was living a round of Call of Duty. Around Copley, around the Pru, around that sushi place I’ve been meaning to try, around King’s, and down a deserted alley that felt like a scene from The Hurt Locker. There were men in uniforms I’d never seen before, guns with no safeties and helmets I probably needed. My phone buzzed, but I didn’t dare make any sudden movements to check it, for fear of them turning on me. All of this, one block from Little Stevie’s, with people inside eating like this is all normal. I could have cried. But I couldn’t run. I just had to keep walking, like nothing was wrong.
I didn’t feel much about 9/11 at the time. I figured I didn’t live in New York, and I had no reason to be upset. I was also 13 years old and didn’t really know what the World Trade Center towers were until after they were gone, so my innocence and ignorance were big factors there. But at the time, I never felt like I had much right to be sad: it wasn’t my city, and it didn’t feel right to grieve over something I didn’t know about. Now, I know I was wrong. This may have happened in Boston, but it happened to all of us.
Things I’ve Learned From The Unfortunate Events That Took Place At The 2013 Boston Marathon
People care for other people deeply. Whether first responders or volunteers or people I haven’t heard from in two years checking in to see if I’m safe. I quickly perfected my “Yes, and we got in touch with our friend who was running, thanks for checking in” response.
Facebook is an amazing first response tool. Cell service cut out quickly, so the masses turned to Facebook to tell our loved ones we were alright.
Everyone copes with tragedy differently. I haven’t spoken three words at work this week; some of my colleagues won’t shut up. Everyone has their ways.
Policemen, army men, SWAT team members, etc are incredibly nice. Earlier in the day on Marathon Monday, swarms of cops were standing around, chatting and seemingly doing nothing. I muttered a few comments, and I take them all back now. Thank you all for being there, and thank you all for your bravery. I see you everywhere I go now, which is both comforting and terrifying. For now, I feel safer knowing you are there.
They also make me incredibly nervous and I fumble my words around them. “Where does Boylston open back up?” becomes alphabet soup.
Everyone wants to feel connected to big events. This is scary for everyone on a different level. From a monetary donation to donating blood to posting all kinds of social media statuses, everyone reacts differently. The good news is, they’re all doing it with Boston in mind.
Nobody wants to talk about “it”. But when you don’t, you’re frustrated that nobody’s saying anything. I’m struggling with how my office handled everything. We work in a generally relaxed environment, where working from home is not unheard of. Not only was working from home not even offered as an option the day after the Marathon, we still have yet to receive any kind of communication formally addressing what happened. Nothing to put us at ease. Nothing to remind us that the company cares. It’s hard, and it makes getting work done harder.
Boston Strong. Run for Boston. Prayers for Boston. We Remember Boston. In the time I’ve taken to write this, I’ve lost track of how many sirens have passed my window, there have been false reports of an arrest and there’s been a bomb scare at our courthouse. Just another day in Boston, these days. I know we’ll have answers soon, but please stand together and be kind to each other until then. On the plus side, I haven’t heard a single cabbie honk all week.