A guest post by The Suit
I love Boston. I wasn’t born here, but at 19 years and counting, it is the one town where I spent the most time in my life. More than any other town in the world, it is my home.
I love the idiosyncrasies of the place. The thick accent of the people who grew up here, whether it is Meffah or Reveah. The visceral relationship the town has with the Red Sox (and I am not a baseball fan). The hatred for all New York teams. The global provincialism (yes, the J. Geils Band should have made it into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame before Abba). The fact that we have a real summer, a real winter, a real fall, and when we are lucky, even a real spring. And I love the traditions, even when they are a little stuffy.
If you have lived in Boston long enough, you know that few days are as special as Marathon Day. It has all the elements of true Bostonianess. First of all, the weather. You never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you get 40 degrees, sometime you get 70, sometimes you get blistering wind, and every once in a while, when you are lucky, you get true spring.
Then, you have the holiday. Patriots Day. It is not a true national holiday. It is a Massachusetts holiday, and by and large, only schools and government offices observe it. But it commemorates the beginning of the revolution. And if I stayed home, on Patriots Day, I could sit by the road and watch a man on a horse do an actual reenactment of Paul Revere’s ride (yes, that Paul Revere).
And finally there’s the race. It is the oldest annual marathon in the world. It’s traditional, and proud of it. You get into the race only two ways: you either run a serious qualifying time, or you raise money for it. And once you are in, it is a beast of a race.
There is a reason why they call it Heartbreak Hill.
For many years I worked at the Prudential Tower. We didn’t get the day off on Patriots Day, but every year we would track our friends who were running the race. And around 2pm, we’d head down to the street to see them go by. It was a tradition, and a fun one.
The Day of The Boston Marathon Bombing
These days, I work 70 miles away from Boston. This morning, I woke up at 6AM, got on the road by 7 and enjoyed the lack of traffic on my way to work. I found out about the Boston Marathon Bombing when people started texting and calling me to find out if I was ok. I got calls from friends in Italy and from far away towns, who only knew I was living in Boston.
I was lucky I was nowhere near the end of the Marathon and neither were any members of my family. The two friends I had who ran the marathon were fast enough to finish before the bomb.
If you have been on Facebook or on any site or near radio or TV, you have heard about the horror. But tonight, as I was sitting at home watching the replays of the explosion, something struck me:
I will not keep in my memory the horror of the Boston Marathon bombing or the twisted mind of the individual(s) who decided it would be a good idea to do something like this. No, what I will remember will be the people near the explosion who, right after it happened, rushed to help their fellow humans, without consideration for their own life. I will remember the local rock critic, who posted on Facebook “If you are stranded and cannot get out of Boston I have beds, I can host you”, and the the hundreds of people who offered their hospitality to strangers on a googledoc. I will remember all my friends, who called to find out about me. I will remember the string of emails of local musicians saying “we are all ok” initiated by a band in Brooklyn who wrote to about 50 Boston bands to find out if we were ok. I will remember the number of people volunteering to donate blood, water, blankets and food to the runners at the common.
Yes, a few members of the human race are capable of unspeakable deeds. But the majority of my fellow humans give me great hope. And tonight, I am glad and proud to call this wonderful town home.