Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Emo Post about Boston

I live about 35 minutes south of Boston. Some of my favorite things to do are to go into the city and roam Faneuil Hall, visit the aquarium, shop the Pru and Copley Place (not that I can afford anything there, but hey). When I lived closer to the city and was single, I was in there a lot. In fact, I worked in the Hancock Building for a period of time as a temp. I'd walk to Boston Garden for lunch - I was bit by a duck there - or I would go grab a slice at Pizzeria Regina. I would sit on the steps of the old stone church that you can see in some of the images that they're showing on television over the last few days and read.

My husband and I had our first date at Bennigans in the Theatre District and then went over to The Comedy Club, followed by a night of drinking and laughing at the musclehead guys trying to pick up the big haired girls at a nightclub. While dating, we loved going into Boston to eat at restaurants or drink at bars near Faneuil Hall. We loved the blues club that was under Faneuil Hall. I love watching the street performers and people watching from a bench on the cobblestones.

We've been to see the Celtics, the Red Sox, the Bruins, Disney on Ice, Champions on Ice, The Nutcracker, The Lion King, Barnum & Bailey and Blue Man Group - all in Boston.

We've taken my son to every museum in Boston, some many times. The Science Museum and the Omni Theatre were a staple of his early years (as was the aquarium). Before they shut down the viewing floors of the Pru and the Hancock Tower, we loved to spend time there gazing down on the city and pretending to catch cars with our fingers. To this day we love catching the Red Line at Quincy/Adams station, taking the T into Park Street Station and taking the Green Line from there to Government Center. There are stairs there that lead down to the street and Faneuil Hall. I love those steps. When you stand at the top of them, you have one of the best views of Boston life.

Over the last seven months, with my son's cancer scare we've come to know another part of Boston - the doctors and staff at Brigham & Women's and Dana Farber. They are some of the most amazing, strong, steady and compassionate people I've ever met. Those doors in the images on tv are burned into my memory - not because of what happened on Monday, but because I've passed through them repeatedly as we took my son for emergency visits, consultations, surgery and follow ups. The image of the ATF agents storming to those doors is terrifying to me. That hospital represents safety to me. It's filled with the very best of humanity.

The injured who ended up at Brigham & Women's couldn't have been in better, more caring hands.

On Saturday, I'm getting me time so that I can go into the Seaport World Trade Center to go to Craft Boston, which is a spectacular showing of arts and crafts from the very best artisans in Boston. It has everything from steampunk rings to handmade modern art furniture.

In about a month, my son and I (along with several of his friends) will be going into Boston to attend Anime Boston which is held at the Hynes Convention Center inside the Pru. It's a convention that I've mentioned before where kids and adults like my son, who are often met with rejection, hostility, discrimination, bullying and worse gather in an environment where they're welcomed by tens of thousands like them, embraced and accepted. For a weekend, in Boston, they are part of a community that loves them.

While there, we'll take breaks and walk the Prudential Mall, Copley Plaza and Boston in general - where Bostonians and tourists will stare at them in their cosplay costumes with equal measures of amazement and confusion, and these anime geeks like my son and his friends will share their love of anime, manga, Boston and each other with everyone they come in contact with.

We'll likely walk past the spot where the bombing took place. I plan to bring flowers.

Nothing will prevent me from attending either event.

It's hard to watch television right now. I've been avoiding it for several days, because while the rest of the world goes on, here in Boston and the surrounding communities our televisions have been bombarded 24/7 with news coverage from the scene, replays of the bombings, footage of the aftermath and interviews with government officials, doctors, victims, family members, runners, etc. At some point it becomes overwhelming loud static. The news vultures constantly searching for a new, more tragic story angle to make us grieve harder make me want to vomit. They jump to spread misinformation and revel in speculation about how and why this happened, all while they run video footage of blood and pain over and over. And it doesn't stop. Every local station. Every minute of the day. It's relentless.

Yes, I understand that the news needs to be reported. I have a journalism degree. I get it. But there comes a point where enough is enough. Let these people grieve. Stop stalking them for a 10 second sound bite. Let us all grieve and regroup. Stop shoving the horror down our throats.

When I got up on Monday, my son was already up. In fact, he'd stayed up all night in some misguided attempt to regulate his sleep schedule. Aspergers is hell on sleep patterns. When he was young, he slept in 15 min. increments every 6-8 hrs., for the first 4 years of his life. (Can you say sleep deprived?) I used to put him in his baby swing and later in his johnny jumper while I napped on the floor in front of him. Or put him in the car and drive until he fell asleep. Sometimes that drive took me to Boston where I would load him in his stroller and push him along the cobblestones and pretend we were okay.

Monday was a beautiful day here - warm, sunny, we were up and the Marathon was happening. I've never been, which seriously is a sin since I've lived around Boston since graduating college in 1985. My son wanted to get out and do something. I suggested going in to the Marathon - an idea that he nixed because of concerns of sensory overload. Large crowds, motion, noise, strong odors - all of these can send him into a tailspin. So, while we entertained the idea of catching the Red Line in and making our way to the finish line to see the runners finish, instead we went to the local mall. We shopped and laughed and climbed in the car to drive home and heard the news.

I spent the next hour making sure people I love were safe. My sister and niece (who is on vacation this week) had also debated making the drive to Boston (they live 2 hrs. away). My niece is a crazy talented athlete at 14 and they often drive down to catch different sports events. She wanted to go to cheer on the runners crossing the finish line - my sister couldn't get her act together fast enough for them to make the drive. My immediate family and friends are all safe and sound. I don't know yet if there was anyone I know peripherally in that crowd. I think of all the doctors and nurses who have taken care of us through my son's scare and I'm pretty sure I knew some of those first responders, as well as at least one surgical team that helped save lives.

What I want to close with is this: I've learned over my 50 years that life isn't always fair, it isn't balanced - but the good always outweighs the bad. The sheer number of people who ran toward the bombing victims shows that. One person can do a lot of damage and we could focus on that if we wanted to - but instead we should focus on the good. The people who tore down scaffolding that the fucking blast couldn't knock down - with their bare hands and will alone. The people who ripped off their shirts, jackets and belts to make tourniquets. The doctors and nurses who raced to the hospitals to be there for the injured. The people who simply took the hands of the injured and held them so they would know they were not alone. The people who did what we all should do - be the light in the dark.

Darkness is always there. But light will ALWAYS be there to push it back. Be the light, people.


(As I finish writing this, the radio station just announced that there is a suspect in custody. Amen.)