“Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people.”
– President Barack Obama
I have not moved from my TV since about 3 p.m. A. had to bring me a glass of wine to calm my nerves. I can’t seem to quite put words together about how I feel right now, so bear with me.
I have lived in Boston (not counting two years I spent in glorious Toronto) since 2001. I moved from New York to Boston on Sept. 15, 2001. You can do the math about when I moved and how my nerves were already shot. But I bounced back, and while the memory never fades, the constant fear does.
Now, to clarify, I am in no way comparing what happened in New York to what happened today in Boston. However, my feelings of uncertainty remain the same.
Patriot’s Day in Boston is a big deal. It is always the second Monday in April. It is usually one of the first nice days of the year. And Boston has something that no one else in the country has: a random day off where the weather is usually nice and people gather outside. The marathon is huge. In the months lining up to the marathon, the T is covered in ads by various sporting companies (“Some people don’t drive 26.2 miles in a day!”). When Katie and I worked together, we would support a fellow colleague who ran the marathon. Our buddy spent months prepping for it and then in true Bostonian fashion would hold a fundraiser at a bar downtown the following day, as a thank you. I would sit at my desk only to discover a random toenail she had left for me as a souvenir of support. It was beyond gross, and yet, I always laughed.
So I don’t run the marathon, but I love the marathon. I love watching the race, always impressed with the runners and dedication it takes to train. WBZ, one of the local news channels, spends all day at the race talking to runners as they cross, hearing the stories of the spectators (“Who do you know that is running?”). My younger sister ran the race in 2006 and still talks about it.
I was checking Facebook when it happened. I saw a quick note “explosion at marathon finish line, details to follow.” I ran to the TV and haven’t moved since. They don’t know what is going on right now. There are casualties. The newscasts are starting to repeat themselves as no new information has come forward. It was confirmed that there were two bombs, most likely in trashcans. There are a lot of rumors flying around – the NY Post has already retracted stories.
What strikes me though is the video of the explosion. Runners are turning around and running to figure out what is going on, to help people. Right now people are sharing and retweeting the Patton Oswalt missive about the good in people. For me, the marathon was one of the last bastions of innocence. I didn’t have to take my shoes off or be frisked to enjoy it – I always knew people who ran and followed their tracking devices if I couldn’t be there in person. A. and I were downtown on Saturday, and the air was already filled with excited anticipation of the race.
But here we are, and the uncertainty for me has returned. Everyone I know is unharmed, which is the best I can ask for. So tomorrow, I get up, shower, and go to work knowing that there are good people out there, and eventually again the fear will fade while the memory remains.