I first heard about the MIT shootings last night at 1:30 in an email from one of my friends whose father is one of the heads of a Boston area police department. Other than taking a “nap” from 7-8am, I’ve been awake ever since, listening to the police scanner, tracking the events on Twitter, and generally feeling like I’m in the Twilight Zone.
It took about 30 minutes of wasted time last night watching some idiots on CNN stand around finding as many ways as possible to say, “we have no fucking idea what is going on”, “we have no idea where Watertown is”, and “we’re pretty sure this is unrelated to the marathon bombings” — while I was hearing directly from the police that there had been a car chase, they were throwing explosives out of the car at police, another shootout, one suspect potentially in custody, and that yes, they were 1000% related — before I turned the TV off altogether.
If you are new to following me, I grew up just outside Boston. My brother works at MIT; his office is across the street from where the shooting was. My dad works downtown, barely two blocks from the marathon finish line where the explosions were (he wasn’t at work on Monday but was close by). After frantically texting them, “DO NOT GO TO WORK TOMORROW!!!”, I thankfully heard from my brother who was awake at 2am, but knew my dad a) was asleep; and b) likely wouldn’t turn his phone on before leaving for work. When I called him at 6:15 this morning, he had heard the news, but was still planning to go to work (!). I texted him a few minutes later, begging him to stay home after hearing that all public transit was shut down, and Boston Police was telling all businesses to remain closed and people to stay home.
Even though I’m in New York, I feel apprehensive. But more than anything else, I feel, like I have been since Monday afternoon, like this can’t be happening. Not in the city that I grew up in and love dearly and where my family and so many of my friends still live. Yes, Boston is a strong city, but I feel harshly protective of it in a way that’s different than New York. I want this to all be over already.
But, if there’s one good thing that has come out of this, or, alternatively, my favorite thing that has come out of this, is that even though businesses are closed and most of the city is ghost town, the one business that’s stayed open—that called the police and ASKED to stay open—is, obviously, Dunkin Donuts.