Friday, April 19, 2013

We Have Come This Far, Always Believing

What a strange day. It didn’t really have a beginning, since I went right from writing last night’s post into watching breaking news coverage of what at the time looked like a random crime spree around Boston but that was getting national coverage because all the media in the country was already there. When I decided to go to bed around 2:30 that was still all it was.

From there, things got weird. The first important piece of information is that the Motel 6 sheets were made of some strange material that got much warmer than most sheets. The other key piece of information is that the TV in the room had no sleep timer. Combined, these factors led me to wake up several times during the night to adjust the heat, while also hearing a version of the story that was slightly different from the last one. It wasn’t until 8:00 when the alarm went off that Morning Joe proclaimed “it’s all connected, folks.”

For the entire morning, the coverage was riveting – a real-life action movie unfolding live on the radio. I could hardly stand Newfound Gap Road, with its spotty XM reception, even at the summit.

All week I’ve thought that since I’m so far away from Boston during this vital period of the city’s history, that I wouldn’t be able to relate to the way the rest of New England has experienced this. But this week I’ve seen that this really is a national story and it’s getting a national response. When I stopped at Moe’s Original BBQ in Asheville (very good, but I’m going to go back to ordering ribs instead of pulled pork from now on), the guy in front of me in line noticed my Red Sox hat and remarked, “You know things are serious when they cancel the Red Sox game. It takes a lot to shut them down.”

The terribly disappointing drive north on I-81, as the mountains get smaller and smoother, was probably the perfect backdrop needed to experience the incredible emotional highs and lows that today’s news cycle brought. At first it seemed clear that it was only a matter of time before the suspect was caught, which made the coverage completely engrossing, never knowing if the next update would be the announcement of an arrest. This often mixed with a sense of utter disbelief as the city which I’m moving to in mere weeks descended into a veritable war zone, with no civilians allowed on the streets and with Blackhawk helicopters transporting military personnel around the city. The low point came with one of the strangest press conferences ever held by a police chief, mayor, and governor; wherein the former announced that they hadn’t caught anyone and didn’t know where he was. This was followed by Governor Patrick announcing that even though the same madman who had caused the city-wide lockdown was still unaccounted for, people should now start walking the streets like nothing unusual was going on. Granted, this strategy eventually proved effective, it did require that the residents of Watertown become human canaries in a coal mine.

 But in the end, of course, it ended in the best way possible: Peacefully, safely, and with the suspect alive. Aside from all the questions that he’ll be able to answer before he’s executed, I’d actually like to know why my city police department owns several tanks and bazookas. Thank goodness the Boston PD isn’t known for being trigger-happy, like some very large cities that shall remain nameless.

As for my own day, it was rather uneventful. Latke thoroughly enjoyed her hotel bed…

it was foggy…

except when it was pouring rain…

in fact, the most interesting part of the route was probably this wrong-way concurrency, where a single stretch of road is simultaneously labeled as north and south...

and in the end, Shenandoah refused to produce a sunset yet again.

That park’s had enough chances. I won’t be back.

1 comment:

  1. What a sad, heartbroken breakup-letter-to-the-park this turned out to be. I do like those dark blue sunset pictures though!