It’s hard to believe that this was only a week ago, or already a week ago, or both. Some assorted thoughts:
Boston Strong: I appreciate the sentiment – the idea that the city will not cower before a spineless act – but am irked at the notion that we’re all supposed to be strong, or that there’s something wrong with not being ready to get involved next year. The marathon always has a surplus of qualified runners; the B.A.A. has a surplus of volunteers. The 2013 participants can sit out in 2014 and have less traumatised people take their places. The city will recover; the marathon will go on; many individuals will not. And that’s fine, and we ought to stop telling people how to feel and when to feel it.
Medal ceremony: One marathon team held a medal ceremony for the non-finishers; I was invited and went. It was a lovely event, and it was a wonderful reminder that the terrorists were able to stop thousands of people from finishing that race, but weren’t able to stop many of them from being cheered on as they received their medals. It also echoed what Monday was right up until 2:50 pm, and has been for the 117 years prior.
Watertown: too surreal to even blog about. I think that a massive police force shut down a half-dozen towns, ordered the entire town of Watertown on lockdown, and hunted down a 19-year-old kid who shot at my friend’s dad, killed a 26-year-old MIT cop, and hid out in a boat. Either that, or it was the most bizarre dream ever.
It’s hard to explain how Boston is not one of those cities with a big target attached to it. NYC is a target. The summer that I lived in DC, you were more likely to get shot and killed there than you would have been as a soldier in Iraq. Detroit? Get a flat tire, and you have a life expectancy of about fifteen minutes. Don’t make me go all Robert Downey Jr. in “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” on Los Angeles.
Boston has always been different – quieter, much like a suburb; a small city that can be walked end-to-end in under an hour. The kooks and the crazies largely ignore it. This situation – the bombing, the marathon was attacked, and the Watertown manhunt – were horrible anyway, but especially unexpected here.
Lovely Spring Days: this is a personal one. I used to hate the things: they reminded me of standing by a river bank, waiting for rescue crews to find the body of a teenager, a warm and talented young man nine years my junior. It was a horrific seventeen hours, most of which were sunny, warm, without humidity, a few clouds in the sky and the lush greenery covering the mountains – all so wrong when your student is dead. Now I hate those lovely days for similar reasons.