I’ve been hesitant to post this, because I feel it comes across as very self-centered and not paying proper respect for the people directly affected in Boston. But it’s my blog, so I’m going to post it. If you think I’m a hateful, terrible person, please say so respectfully (if that’s possible?).
I’m a worrier. I have anxiety, sometimes controlled and sometimes not. I do not live in Boston, but I do live in an east coast city that is no stranger to terrorism*.
The Boston bombings didn’t concern me so much right when it happened. I read the developing news stories with a curious detachment. It wasn’t until Tammy texted me that she was leaving work to get on the train home that I felt the first tickle of panic. And then when I got on the train an hour late, I found myself scanning people’s faces for…what? There was a woman talking to herself on my car, and I found myself anxiously eyeing her tote bag, trying to decide if there was a vague…bomb outline inside (because I know so much about what bombs look like??). Any other time I would dismiss her as just another crazy person (I know, am a model of compassion and generosity) but yesterday she freaked me the hell out.
When I got home I told myself that I was safe, Tammy was safe, our cat was safe. All of our family was safe (even those living in Boston) and my stomach unclenched slightly. I must not have relaxed as much as I thought though, because I snapped at Tammy twice last night, over stupid, inconsequential things. She didn’t dispose of the cat barf the way *I* would have, therefore it’s WRONG. And she DARED ask me to pass her a glass of water which prompted a meltdown from me. I don’t even have hormones as an excuse. I’m ashamed of the way I acted.
The next morning, some idiotic part of my brain thought it would be a great idea to read a news article about the bombings, before I’d even gotten out of bed. Reading about limbs on the ground was bad enough on its own. But then I got to the section on how my city was beefing up security for the events downtown today and it was all over for me. I convinced Tammy to drive us to work today so we wouldn’t have to be on public transportation (avoid crowds!!) and was an absolute monster during the drive, snapping and clutching and gasping, and generally being a fabulous person to be around.
I’ve spent a large portion of my work day reading up on emergency preparedness, emergency kits, evacuation routes, etc. etc (winner employee, obviously). I’ve determined that I can walk home from work in 1 hour, 40 minutes. It will take Tammy more like 3 hours. That’s if she can cross the bridge. You see, she works in a suburb south of the city, and there’s a damn river between our offices. If the city gets bombed, they’ll probably shut down the bridge, right? Should she then just head south, toward my parents? Should I go home, pick up the cat and try to go north, toward her family? Leaving the cat is not an option.
I’ve had a few mini panic attacks while researching all of this, and remembering an article I read in Time Magazine a few years after 9/11. The article described how quickly/slowly you would die if a nuke hit the city. At the time I was living RIGHT downtown, and was strangely comforted by the fact that I would pretty much be incinerated immediately. Now we’re a good 10-15 minute drive from downtown, so does that mean we would die over an agonizing 10 minute period? Damn. I wish I could find that article, but I don’t want to google “nuke _____ how quickly will you die” on my work computer. I prefer to keep my job, thanks. Even if I am a shit employee today.
Sometimes you don’t need to know things. Sometimes knowledge is not power.
*YES, I’m being purposefully vague. All of you are lovely people, but the internet is a big place and there are wackos out there. It does get tiring calling it “the city that I live in” rather than ______, but I prefer safety over convenience.