It happened again, half way through the first day of a school vacation, a day that began like many that I have spent over the years on Patriot's day. Signs of something that I have become familiar with started to manifest themselves. Texts and emails from friends and family who know of my enthusiasm for marathon day started trickling in. Many colleagues know that I live in the general area, or that I am a runner myself. Growing up, the marathon was the start of spring, it just seemed more accurate than the calendar with regards to feel. I knew without knowing much that this one would be different.
I kept thinking about the vernacular that has been recently created when checking in with someone after a tragedy such as this. I recognized all of the words, the general well wishes aimed at a region, the moments of lucidity and remembrance coupled with a very eerie concern for the present. I kept wondering if the news channels would use the word "massacre" simply because it was Boston, and although I knew that something had happened from the precarious nature of many tweets and calls, I wasn't quite ready to hear about it.
I turned everything off and listened to music, a Herbie Hancock album that I love from when he was quite young. It sounds a lot like the background to a mission impossible episode or maybe Scooby-Doo. I thought immediately about how many casualties it would take to really shock me, or what age those people would have to be for me to even feel anything. I thought about Kafka's Hunger Artist, about a man who starved himself as a form of providing entertainment, only to later find that with each performance, it would take more days of hunger to impress a somewhat desensitized audience. I thought more about Herbie Hancock, and Kafka, and the marathon. I decided after a while to start up the crazy machine.
The television went on, and my mouth opened. Creative alliterations, tactfully phrased statements, and individual or eyewitness accounts poured into my living room. I was actually slightly relieved that I could feel shock, that I had not yet been completely disabled, that another's hunger could still alarm me. This was going to be a studio day for me. This is going to be a studio day for me. I made sure that my television was pointed to a benign cartoon about a red dog so that when it is turned on by my kids they may wake more slowly to the world that they will surely inherit but that I can only imagine. For today, I am thinking Thelonius Monk. God bless us.