We seem to have internet again on a mostly consistent basis. Paul went into to work today — though I’m a little nervous about that — and there were no incidents overnight. At least not in Cambridge or Somerville. I understand, though the grapevine, that there were some flare ups in Allston.
I don’t even know where to begin.
Lexington and Concord, I suppose. I know hindsight is 20-20, but seriously, how much brains would it have taken to figure out that the Children of Liberty were going to pull some kind of a stunt on the Lexington Green at dawn on April 17th? I suspect I was one of the first to hear about it — one of the only, for a while. April has a cold and she wakes up early when she’s sniffly, so I was up and making breakfast with NPR on in the background when the news broke.
I woke Paul up and we listened, torn between laughing and terror, listening to the reports out of Lexington. And then there was a bang and shouting and the reporter got cut off. I waited all morning to get more information, but all I kept hearing were retreads of what we’d heard before and the folks in the sound booth repeating that the officials had nothing to say.
Paul tried to go into work. He goes in early — 7:15, usually, or 7 if April has a cold — and everything still seemed normal at that point. I’ll let him tell his story, but suffice it to say, he was back home by 8:30.
The radio started reporting all kinds of contradictory and scary things and I got a little nervous. The Russian mother in my got very very nervous. So I called up Vicki and she came over and sat with April while I made a mad dash to the grocery store. Bought them out of dried beans, plus a trunk load of bottled water, two 20 lb bags of rice, four gallons of fresh milk, four more gallons of Parmalat, and every last sack of flour (all three).
I pulled the car into the garage just as Paul was coming back home. We could hear sirens in the distance, faintly sometimes, louder others. Those sirens didn’t stop for two days.
We never saw much of the “unrest.” Partly because it was mostly in certain hot spots — Lexington and Concord, of course, plus Harvard Yard, BU, BC, Allston, and Southie — and we’re no where near those spots. But also because we were hunkered down. We didn’t leave the house until yesterday.
What’s funny is that all the news coverage makes it sound sort of like a bunch of college students pranking and all the focus is on the canceled Marathon yesterday. Some sports writers are calling that a huge tragedy… but at least the Sox beat the Yanks.
No one mentions the fact that no one with a land-based internet, phone, or TV had any communications with the outside world for four days. No one mentions that cell phones didn’t work in much of the city for the past four days. I was one of the only people I know with a radio — a real radio, one that has batteries and an antennae — so I was the only one getting news. Not that I could disseminate that news easily — even if I had wanted to go out (and I totally didn’t!), apparently travel on the streets was tough.
Not because of rioters or whatnot. Like I said — that was all at universities and other spots. No, apparently the Back Water Thugs were out in force and hassling everyone who tried to go anywhere during the day. No one (no one I know, anyway) was dumb enough to try to go anywhere at night.
And, of course, public transportation was shut down. That may seem trivial to you suburban types, but most Bostonians (and Cantabridgians) don’t have cars. Without busses or subways, most of us were limited to where you could get to on foot.
I worry about all the stuff we haven’t heard — not just about the rioters and whatnot, but about average folks. What about everyone who couldn’t call an ambulance because they shut down the phone? What about all those people who went four days without food because they don’t have well stocked pantries? Hell! Even if they had been able to get to the stores, without restocking for four days, those already scanty shelves went totally bare pretty quickly I’ll bet.
This is getting out of hand.