Saturday, April 20, 2013

Unbelievable Week

This week has been nuts. Just insane. From the Onion:

“Maybe next time we have a week, they can try not to pack it completely to the fucking brim with explosions, mutilations, death, manhunts, lies, weeping, and the utter uselessness of our political system,” said basically every person in America who isn’t comatose or a complete sociopath. “You know, maybe try to spread some of that total misery across the other 51 weeks in the year. Just a thought.”

I was so sad on Monday. I lived in Boston for about 3 years. Unless you have been to the Boston Marathon, I'm not sure you get how over-the-top fantastic it is. Truly a special day. There's just an energy, a good feeling. Patriot's Day, which I had never heard of prior to living in Boston, really has its own vibe.

My spectator spot for the race was at the corner of Hereford (pretty sure that's the right street - next to a firehouse) and Bolyston. It is literally the beginning of the Home Stretch. The wheel chair racers are the first through and the street erupts when the first racer takes the corner and heads towards the finish line. Then there is a trickle of runners that slowly turns into a flood. You don't leave once the race has a winner. There are thousands of runners on their way that are counting on your support to make it to the finish. And that's not an exaggeration. I've seen plenty of runners that look totally exhausted and dehydrated and in dire need of a nap. But they don't stop. They can't stop. The crowd is literally propelling these completely fatigued runners towards the finish line. And if you know someone running...the only thing more exciting that looking for them in the field of runners is finding them. When my buddy Dan took that corner and headed up Boylston, I think I had that runner's high you hear so much about. And I was just cheering by the curb.

I have such good memories of Boylston and the Back Bay. Not just marathon related. I took a bartending class a few blocks away from the finish line. Sunday morning breakfasts (breakfast food in the early afternoon is probably more accurate) at Hunter's on Boylston. The pub crawl for my 21st birthday started at a place called the Pour House on Bolyston. The night I proposed to my wife, we stayed at the Lenox Hotel on Boylston. No idea how many times I walked up the street just on my way somewhere.

I joined Twitter about 2 weeks ago. The Boston Marathon bombings was the first time social media broke a news story to me. I couldn't believe it. Later that night all hopes of the damage being minimal were gone. Brutal. I found a large part of me wanting to look away, find a stupid sitcom world to escape and hide. And another part me felt obligated to watch. Turning away was ignoring what happened. The people there couldn't turn away. Why should I be granted that luxury?

And then an explosion big enough to register on the Richter scale rocked Texas. That disaster was followed by some much need relief at the All Over Albany birthday party. I got to say hi to people I've met a few times before and met a bunch people I "knew" online but had never actually met. TI felt nice to have a good time.

Unfortunately, that enjoyable evening didn't carry over onto Friday. One police officer was dead, another injured and the Boston area was in lockdown. And closer to home, Friday morning I saw something, nothing bad happened but, well here's what happened: When everyone shows up, 11 kids get on the bus at our bus stop. This morning, a 6th grade girl was there first. I was walking up the street with my girls. I'd say we are 100 to 150 feet away from the bus stop. I can see another parent coming toward the stop with two kids and a puppy. They are probably 200 feet away in another direction. A white van with some plumbing labels on the side stops in front of the bus stop. I can't see the 6th grade girl any more. Another white van (no labels) pull up next to the plumbing van. The vans are both pointed in the same direction. I imagine they are trying to figure out which house they are supposed to go to and have no idea there is a girl beginning to panic to their left. After a few seconds of the vans being parked, I see the girl bolt - running for your life fast - up the street to the other parent.

I don't mean to imply this girl did the wrong thing or over reacted. She did the absolutely correct thing. She feared for her safety, got the hell out of there and went directly to somewhere safe with an adult she trusted. The part that bothers me is that this is a lesson kids need to learn. And I saw the lesson in action a few houses up the road from mine. This is the world we live in. And I've got it easy. Try putting a 5 year old growing up in Watertown, MA to be tonight. What would you say?

Earlier tonight, I went to the Girls Scouts Decades Dance. Each troop picks a song and practiced a dance. This is my third Decades Dance. They are truly very nice events (even though one troop danced to a Taylor Swift song). And the kids really cheer each other on. It was pretty damn cute and hard not to smile.

After the kids were in bed, we turned on the TV and the second bombing suspect had been captured. Hopefully things are turning around. Next week has to be better.

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