April 15th, 2013 – I am sitting on a crowded train with my family, heading back from NYC. I honestly have no idea what to write for today’s blog? I have a picture, I like it. Here it is, taken on 7th Ave. while walking the city across from the Wellington Hotel… see the reflection.
I hate it when people make larger stories about them. So, I debate what to write. I do not want to do that, I have been thinking I would just post the photo, no words, but I have been getting the news from Boston all day, I was sitting on the giant red stairs in the center of Time Square, in the center of what feels like the universe and my phone lit up… every news alert I got, all screaming about explosions in Boston, Marathon stopped, people hurt, more information to come. What a helpless feeling, there is nothing I could do, no matter where I was, but I felt strange, violated. Sitting in New York City, while getting hints that something was happening in Boston. I do not live in Boston, I live in the burbs, about 45 minutes southwest, but when a random stranger struck up a conversation with me at a cross walk and insisted on talking to me about what had happened… well, I said I was from Boston. 4 hours before I might have said, Southern Massachusetts, or just outside of Boston, but Boston got bigger today.
My Dad and I used to go see the Marathon together. Sometimes we would meet up with his friends from work, my Dad always knew a spot where we could get close. I remember being very young and thinking it was a something I could never do, run that far, not knowing if it was going to be hot, cold, sunny or snowing. I think I had a plan to try to run it on the 100th anniversary, it was on the early version of the bucket list… well that came and went. But as I got older I would go in to the city with friends. One year we were right on Boylston yards from the finish line. No matter how cynical or disinterested you claim to be, it takes a lot not to be inspired by the event. I found myself all day checking in on my phone. I told the kids it had started. I knew it was a close race this year in the men’s category, I checked on Dick and Rick Hoyt, I may not have attended it for years, but I like to know it is there.
Now this? You would think we would become numb to this shit. I think it speaks volumes about this country that we don’t. I met a kid my age (when I was a kid) we were maybe 20, from Ireland. I listened to him tell stories of bombings and the IRA. He told them like they were just, well normal events. ‘These things that happened.’ was how he put it. No different than running to the store, or getting the paper from the walkway. I never appreciated his sense of comfort with it until I was older. Now I hope this was just his coping mechanism, because I can’t do it. I took my kids to NYC, and I felt guilty because we did not make it to Ground Zero. I have been to Manhattan probably 10 times since 2001, and until this trip I have made it there each time.
I sat in Penn Station trying to calm my kids, actually just my daughter. I did not have the heart to tell my son yet, he was nervous enough just traveling. You could see her concern. She was sitting next to me when that phone alerted me of what is going on. She then saw the city of New York slowly revert to protective mode. Block by block as we walked to the train station, police were growing in numbers, military was guarding the entrance to the same building where they were not “visible” just 2 days before. Dogs sniffing packages, news reporters interviewing anyone that had a Boston shirt on, what do I tell her? I don’t know why this is happening. I mean I do, but what she wants to know is what we are doing about it? What are we doing about it?
I can’t take my kids to the marathon next year if I wanted to? I can’t. Why would I? But for the first time in years I want to. Hell, I want to get my sorry ass in shape and run the damn thing. To show my kids they can if they wanted too. I do not want my Son or Daughter to ever talk about this stuff like that Irish kid did. I am on a train, just hoping to get home, so I can tuck my kids in bed, after a trip that no matter how awesome was stained. Where all I can think about are the victims and their families, not what photo to post. Scared of a conversation with my kids where I have to explain why I can’t in good conscience (right now) think of taking them to something that we weren’t going to anyway. Even though now I want to go more than ever.
Keep the families in your thoughts, keep yours even closer.
1/125sec, f6.3, iso1600, Nikon D700, Nikon 50mm 1.8