In Case of Emergency: Eat Biscuits

Our awesome neighbors brought over lock-down biscuits today. Celebrating with mine now.
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This whole week feels unreal. Like it was a movie. Or a haze. Or happened to someone else. I assume that’s the glories of the human mind allowing you to get through something difficult. I also assume it will hit me again and again and again at several points in the coming months that it was in fact very real.

Also a wonderful way the mind works I guess. Sharp edges of reality fitting themselves into a narrative of self.

I’m really really trying to hold on to how things are Right Now. When we all feel so relieved. And together as a community. And just determined to get back to ourselves.

I have no doubt that this will become “other” at some moment. We’ll figure out a way to make this a “story” to make those sharp edges of the reality of it all fit better into our memories.

We were all already practicing it Friday night even before it had all ended. Because of course we couldn’t know that it was going to end. Someone told me today that if the rose of memory were not clipped short, how pricked upon the thorns of reality we might all become.

Which is so true.

So on Friday evening around the time the lock-down was being lifted and some guy in Watertown was wondering why his boat’s tarp was torn and we had all just about had it dealing with the anxiety in our own homes clicking/refreshing and making GIFs on Facebook about how strong we were because really we were frikken scared to death but we didn’t want anyone to KNOW that for crying out loud. So about the time that was all happening, we went to the Dogwood. Our pub.

And met some friends and started talking.

About where we were on Monday when this happened. And how we spent Friday on lock-down. And how nervous/not nervous we all were.

Friday for us was trash pick-up day. Usually it’s on a Thursday unless there’s a holiday. And Monday was a holiday so trash day was Friday. They picked up the regular trash before Boston was under lock-down. But the recycling was never picked up because they called lock-down before the recyclers came. The people who usually come to pick through our recycling for bottles and cans to redeem never showed up.

It was really windy Friday and I was too nervous to go outside to get the cans and drag them back to the house. And at one point the wind blew the trash can over and scared me to death.

Our neighbors across the street decided lock-down was a great time build a new porch. We all have our coping mechanisms I guess. Every time they hammered, I jumped. Friday also kept getting increasingly humid and muggy. It was almost 70F and probably 70% humidity. It felt stifling.

We kept the news on all day. What they were saying didn’t change from about 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. Over and over basically the same things. I kept trying to turn it off. At one point I watched The Office episode on Netflix streaming about “diversity day” because I had talked to someone earlier in the week about how funny that episode was.

I couldn’t really watch it so I put the news back on.

I remember being at one of my first jobs as a receptionist at a Nashville insurance company, when the Oklahoma City bombings occurred. And how absolutely frightened we were. We didn’t have twitter or the internet then, so we all called into the radio stations to talk about what we thought was maybe happening.

For this one, we clicked and refreshed.

I answered emails for work and kept some projects moving. I had a couple of meetings on the phone. I remember the last one of the day I had while leaning over my bed and staring out the open window while I was talking. Because it was really really hot. And because my neighbors had just brought over biscuits they had made because they were anxious too. And we’d all been up way too early and were scared.

And then we just all decided we had to go to the Dogwood because it was almost 6 pm and we’d all been watching this unfold since 6 am, and it was just way too much.

The lock down hadn’t been lifted, but we needed people.

The streets were empty. The buses across the street at Forest Hills T stop were just sitting there. Dark. We got a parking spot on the street. The Dogwood was awesome. We ran into tons of friends and hugged everyone. All of the tvs were on the breaking news. People were standing 3 rows deep at the bar to watch it. It looked. It looked just like the 2007 World Series. With people watching at the bar.

We ordered drinks and an appetizer. And as they were bringing the stuff out, they announced the lock down was lifted. And then we had another drink and some pizza. And the news erupted.

Shoot-outs. And pictures of a boat. And people got closer to the bar and the tvs. and the manager turned the sound way up. And everyone got quiet. We finished up. Had a really nice chat with our friends and other folks and drove home as fast as we could. And about the time we got home. Maybe? Like 15 minutes… they announced they had him in custody.

And I heard someone on our street shouting with joy.

And that’s what Friday really was.

Because in about one. Or maybe two days. This will all become something else. We’ll wrap slogans around our feelings. We’ll start talking about what we can all do to make sure this never happens again. We’ll start to get more answers about “why” or probably not. We’ll start having funerals. We’ll start arguing with one another about due process and rights and can’t we just remember the victims.

Life for a really really long time will feel like it’s been cut in two — before the marathon. And After.

I used to work in the World Trade Center. Two World Trade, 23rd floor. I had moved to Boston two months before 9/11. When I worked in the World Trade, it was just an office building. A really really cool office building that was on postcards that you could buy and send to your family back home and write, “I work here!” with an arrow pointing to the tallest buildings in Manhattan. And as a kid from Possum Trot, Kentucky, I could feel like I had made it. Because I worked in those office buildings.

But after 9/11, they became something else. And if you say, “I worked in the World Trade Center,” people get a momentary look of worry on their face. Instead of the excited/that’s cool face they used to get.

And the marathon will never ever ever be the same. There will never be that rush of joy about a Monday holiday that only Massachusetts seems to get. And a morning Red Sox game and walking down to Boylston to see the finish line. I mean. We’ll do that. But we’ll always think about it for a second. We’ll always have it in the back of our heads. Marathon Monday will always be something we’ll have to “take back” rather than just let it be.

But the thing is? Is that we’ll do it.

Because we will.

About Kristie Helms

Boston-based #digital marketing guru, inadvertent community organizer, life-long voracious reader, ENFJ & former NYC tour guide. I really am from Possum Trot, Kentucky.
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  1. For what it’s worth, there was a run in Calgary yesterday in support of Boston.

    I’m glad you are safe.

  2. […] this one, we clicked and refreshed.” In Case Of Emergency: Eat Biscuits by Kristie […]