I live in Boston. It's been home for 7 years. It took more than half of those years to understand this place, grow to love the quirkiness, and make it my own. It's like no other city in the US. When the bombs went off at Copley on Monday, I was at work in my lab. I had wanted to go down to see my last marathon before I move on to the next phase of life. To mark that off the "to do" list. But I watched a friend run the first year I was here and got asked to do something at work so figured I could count that one marked.
Word spread through my lab, and I spent the next 3 hours listening to the news. But I didn't really feel anything. I thought maybe it just seemed too far away even though I could see helicopters from my window (at least until the FAA restriction), and I could hear a constant cry of ambulances through inch thick glass. I work at the Longwood Medical Area, so a lot were headed in and out of my area.
It wasn't until I was waiting for my bus home that I started to feel it. A few runners in the signature blue and yellow jackets were walking in my direction and then in front of them I saw an older man in a reflective vest that read "BAA Physician". He had a look of shock on his face and tears in his eyes, and then I noticed it - blood on the front of his white jacket.
That struck me, but I still didn't feel enough. This is my city, damnit. These are my people. Friends were down there. All are fine, but there were some terrifying close calls. Heck I was almost down there. But I wasn't. But it was so fucked up that I need to feel something. So I've been reading news stories and looking at pictures. That guy Carlos Arredondo, the hero in the cowboy hat, lives in my neighborhood. I've walked past his traveling memorial to his beloved son on countless sunny weekends and never stopped to say hello. And there he was with his fingers clamped around some guy's lifeline. Then I accidentally found the uncropped version of that photo. DO NOT go looking for it if you haven't already seen it. It's horrifying and will stick in my mind like the images of those poor people jumping off the towers on 9/11. I've done myself in now, and I'm feeling too much. All because I was too tired to feel anything at first and had to MAKE myself feel it. Because I'm getting desensitized. Because I'm tired.
I'm tired of terrorism and the War on Terror(TM). I'm tired of bombings here and overseas. I'm tired of hoping every time something bad happens that it was one of our own home grown crazies who was responsible. Because we can ignore our own crazies as not normal, but for some reason "other" crazies typify a whole culture and religion.
I'm tired of the machismo attitude towards guns. I'm tired of seeing guns pointed at me on Facebook, and I'm tired of having to "hide" the Texas friends and family who post that shit. I'm tired of the entitled feeling people seem to have that they can end someone else's life for a perceived injustice. I'm tired of children getting shot. I'm tired because children shot a baby in Georgia because its mom couldn't give them money to keep them from doing it. I'm tired of girls getting raped, bullied, and killing themselves for it. I'm tired of gay kids killing themselves for being themselves.
And now I'm tired because there are people in my city who have lost three loved ones, a dozen who lost limbs, many many more recovering from physical and emotional trauma, and we don't yet even know why.
Each of these is a tragedy that deserves all of our feeling. But I'm tired of so much violent tragedy. Tired of something unimaginably horrible happening every week. I'm running out of things that I can't imagine. I'm tired of these things being things that people do to other people. I'm tired of not being surprised anymore. I'm tired of feeling like each tragedy isn't "my" tragedy, but at the rate we're going it's probably only a matter of time before my own tragedy comes knocking.
I'm not in despair. I'm not living in fear. I'm actually very emotionally stable but just so very tired. But I do need to put myself on a media diet for awhile. At least until I can feel normally again.