As I was writing my last post, it felt important to be honest. I know that we’re all supposed to see the silver lining and be uplifting, but that’s not particularly how I feel. But I also know that there is so much good that has happened in the last day or so, and that is equally honest, so I thought I should put it here as well.
There are a lot of lists floating around talking about marathoners giving blood and Joe Andruzzi being a fantastic guy (we already knew it, glad to have more proof), but that’s not what this is about. This is all the odd little things that are making my hours a little less long, and sleep a little less elusive.
The only thing that helped me power through Monday was trying to be useful. Locating everyone, posting, fact-checking, and sharing were the only things I felt like I could do that could possibly help anyone. I don’t really have much choice in the matter–my hyper-vigilence goes into overdrive any time there’s an actual crisis at hand, and getting all the “I’m ok” responses and disseminating them to others seemed to keep some of the mania in check.
I got two different emails from strangers kindly thanking me and applauding my humanity for offering up my apartment to those in need. The cynic in me knew almost immediately that there was no way anyone would come back out to Brookline to stay, and given how quickly the list spread and grew, it became clear that adding our apartments to the list was more about our need to feel useful than any real need by those affected. But still. It is nice that people offer up their homes and their cars, and nicer still that a couple of people took the time to thank a bunch of strangers.
Going to the gym was both dreaded and helpful. It’s where I was headed (once I finished sending an article about Boston to an editor–yeah, I guess I’ll have to get back to that) when I heard, and it seemed to be eating away at me. I fully expect that running will be cathartic for some and triggering for others. For me, working out was a good expenditure of energy and a good excuse for why I’m not doing any of the million things on my to do list that my mind just can’t handle quite yet.
Seeing all my Model UN people was a small taste of exactly what I need. When things like this happen, once the fixing and helping is over I like congregating and snuggling. It was good see so many people who have been so important to me for so many years. It was nice to be able to go back and forth between a silly constitutional blah-de-blah, making jokes, and talking about the bombs. I was happy that the people I know from the team seemed to really get it, to really have been affected, and to want to be there for one another even if it’s just in a simple way like eating and hugging and laughing together.
Another great part of tonight was the chance to play with a puppy. Sometimes, we all just need to play with a pug.
Tuning out and watching something funny or with a love story has been a nice escape, when I can get myself to do it. I’ve been listening to Breakdown by Jack Johnson and the album Plans by Death Cab for Cutie whenever I’m in transit, and watching Dawson’s Creek and Arrested Development for sheer distractibility and a dearth of current light hearted options. I remember after 9/11 I hated that all TV and radio was so focused on what happened, even halting shows. At the time I felt the coverage was inescapable, and I just wanted the chance to forget for a few minutes. Even when they brought back the radio, it was all Sarah McLaughlin and Amazing Grace, which didn’t do much to distract me or lift my spirits. All the same, I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up watching Isaac and Ishmael sometime soon.
Undoubtedly the most deeply moving gesture for me personally was a simple text asking me if I was safe. I hadn’t expected or even considered that this friend would be worried about me, which I suppose makes the gesture all the more appreciated. But more than that, it just felt nice at a time when I was checking up on everyone I knew to have someone check up on me. In the same vein, I have truly appreciated all the people who have remembered that my whole family is local and have asked after them. It means a little something deeper to hear the acknowledgement that it is scary when everyone you know and love is a potential victim.
So here’s to lengthening the list, and one day not needing it at all.