Like most Bostonians, I’ve been glued to the television this past week, watching the events of the horrific Marathon bombing play out. I’ve become a devout couch potato, from the initial announcement, with the image of the explosions replayed over and over again. Then, the speculation around who and how and why it all happened; then the identification of the alleged responsible parties on Thursday night. Friday was the coup de grace, with almost 24 hours of almost surreal events, from shoot out to lock down to the show down at the boat.
And of course, the celebration that followed. The police were amazing; they got their man. The people in the village cheered.
Possibly because I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, I spent much of Friday afternoon watching it all on my favorite pinko Commie cable station, MSNBC. First while I was working, but as the hours went on and the search grew more intense, I found myself doing nothing but watching and waiting. Watching and waiting. Would Suspect #2 be found? Where was he hiding? How would this end?
It got to the point where Corb started to get a little irritated. Not to mention, hungry. He was waiting for supper while I was waiting for something to happen.
“They’re just saying the same things over and over,” he complained. “Even worse, they’re just making things up about what might have happened.”
I tried to be patient. Out of the goodness of my heart, I turned half of my attention to him. “That’s the way these things go,” I said. “They need to kill time until something happens.”
“Then why do we have to watch it?”
Well, duh. “In case something happens!”
“We have to wait to eat until something happens?” His voice betrayed just a bit of desperation. Corb wanted his Taco Bell!
I sighed. “No, I guess we don’t. I’ll put my shoes on and we can…” I started to rise, then abruptly sat down again. “Oh, look! They just heard shots!”
Corb finally became so desperate he started posting fake news updates on his Facebook page.
“Reports of a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a gun in Watertown. Please be careful.”
“CNN states suspect is hiding in a boat. Suspect was attempting to escape for a three hour tour.”
“CNN reports I am having Taco Bell for dinner and the suspect is not.”
And finally, as we were driving home from apprehending our calorie-laden fast food fix (and I of course had missed the suspect being apprehended and the villagers were rejoicing):
“CNN reports it’s finally over. Now, on to Golden Girls.”
Later that night, as I was taking in all I had missed while getting supper, and then watching Harry Potter with the boys, I reposted the first image of Suspect #2 being captured. His face, a bloody pulp. His shirt, ripped and lifted up, revealing his boxers and his belly. It was something I found interesting, but I also knew it would generate a response from Corb.
Sure enough, the next day. “I bet you wish I had a stomach like that bomber kid.”
We were in the car, checking out houses. If I had been behind the wheel, I might have swerved off the road. “That’s what you noticed? This kid has been shot and is bleeding all over the place, and all you notice is how pathetically skinny his stomach is?”
Corb flashed me a knowing look, as if to say, don’t get all high and mighty with me, Mister Man. “You know you were thinking it, too.”
Sigh. To have a stomach like that again. And I did, too, back when I was nineteen.
Superficial? Cynical? Perhaps even gallow-y? Guilty, on all counts! But I guess it’s an indication of the way the Bostonian mind works.
On one of the news shows today, someone (I forget who) was quoted as saying that this Boston Marathon has changed us all, forever. The always astute Doris Kearns Goodwin, herself a Bostonian, was quick to point out that as evidenced by the huge public celebration at Fenway Park (complete with Neil Diamond!) that took place last night, it clearly hasn’t.
It’s more than a sense that the public has become desensitized to violence, post-9/11, post- Columbine, post-Newtown. It’s more about the character of Boston itself.
Boston is the birthplace of independence in this country. The shot heard around the world, and all that. That means we’re made of pretty sturdy stuff.
It will take more than two misguided pups to kill that spirit. What took place Monday was sad and unfortunate, but it was decidedly not the end of anything. Throughout the past week, there have been numerous examples of the strength and resilience of the people of Boston and our amazing ability to come together and carry on when things get tough. The runners who continued running extra miles beyond the finish line after the bombing took placed to donate blood. The willingness of an entire city to stay indoors and turn the place into a ghost town for one whole day so a manhunt could take place (what other city would participate so willingly, without complaint?) Then, the incredible coming together when all was said and done.
And now, life goes on, once again. Things continue. The spirit endures.
These are the signs of a strong backbone, of a spirit that cannot be broken. It’s why I am proud to be a New Englander. We may not be the warmest people in the world, but by God, we endure. That’s something no bomb in the world will ever be able to break, because we are far too stubborn to ever let things end with a bang.