If anyone's ever seen the miniseries adaptation of The Stand, or read the Stephen King book, you can get a good sense of what it's like in Boston right now. Just as what it was after "Captain Trips" hit in that series/book, the busiest sections of Boston are eerily empty -- places that should normally be teeming with life are just dead. I live about a half-mile from Davis and Porter Square, two bustling little spots on the Red Line in Cambridge and Somerville (respectively) and the streets are completely quiet. A few random homeless people are smoking cigarettes outside the Porter Square T station, and a white-haired man in a gray jacket is walking his dog down Massachusetts Avenue. That's it for life out here.
I'm hunkered down at a friend's place in Porter Square, after spending an anxious morning burning my eyeballs out staring at local news coverage. Around noon, I said "Screw it," and road-tripped with a friend to their place. There's a grill here, and my friend has turned it on. We've got a few turkey dogs and some leftover hamburgers to grill, and someone ran out to a miraculously-open liquor store nearby and returned with a 30-rack of Bud Light. The neighbors upstairs came down, and we're swapping stories about or activities on the day of the bombing (I was about a block away, at a bar called McGreevy's; one of the neighbors had a sister who was working right in Copley) and trying to avoid the news coverage for a few minutes, until the next big news breaks and we're going right back to burning our eyeballs out. It's funny -- it almost feels like a holiday. No one is working, the weather is beautiful -- it's warm and humid out, and people are walking around in sandals and shorts -- and we can hear the music and smell the hickory from someone else grilling a block or so away.
I had tickets for the Red Sox game tonight, but it's canceled. We had plans to run a 5K in remembrance of the victims tomorrow afternoon, but that was canceled too. Everything's in a kind of a weird, sad limbo -- waiting for the next shoe to drop, and hoping that that shoe isn't something terrible. My friend who lives in the apartment I'm hanging out at is actually from Cambridge. He grew up less than two minutes from where the car was hijacked; he's spent the morning picking out spots he grew up going too while scanning the news coverage and frantically talking to his mom on the phone, who has gone into baking-stress mode. So far, she's made a lasagna and two cakes, and is working on another type of pasta dish that she couldn't be bothered to detail before she dropped the phone.
I grew up in New Jersey, about an hour away from New York City; I remember 9/11 from a distance. It touched me, tangentially, but even that seemed far away. This one seems personal. I was a block away from the bombs when they blew up, as I detailed earlier. I have friends who live in Watertown, and ones that haven't been able to step outside to let their dog go to the bathroom. This one hits home. It's very, very scary, and it's very, very weird. Everyone's rattled. I know Boston. I know we're going to get through this -- but right now, we're just like everyone else. We're scrambling for answers and grasping at anything else, anything that will make us feel normal for a bit.
Someone just came in and turned off the news coverage. He asked everyone if they wanted to watch a movie, and we all agreed. I think we're going to put on Anchorman. The neighbors are going to watch it with us. We didn't know them two hours ago -- and now we do. I guess there's some good that's going to come out of this, after all.
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