Accustomed to catastrophe

Beacon Street, abandoned

The other night, a couple of (brave, he adds redundantly) firefighters died three blocks away from me.

i weaved an unorthodox route home, conscious of traffic backed up from unexpected detours at rush hour.  i parked recklessly, knowing that i maybe wouldn’t get a chance to circle through the area where fire still burned, as i typically do.  i walked calmly across deserted, blocked, streets, unsurprised to see emergency vehicles form a galaxy of flashing lights.

After all, this happened a block away, albeit without the tragic results, a couple months ago.  Or the annual big snowstorm that feels as if the apocalypse bears down on us.  Or the Marathon bombings, when i biked down streets that were empty except for ambulances blasting the other way.  Or the sleepless night a few days later where the madmen toured everyone’s neighborhood before taking up residence in Watertown.

Point is, all this feels normal now.  It’s not surprising.  It’s not any less horrible, nor any less personal when it is your city, your neighborhood, your fellow citizens, but why do we feel so used to it?

Too much news?  A generation grown up watching Armageddon and Independence Day?

It’s not as if a fire, even a big one, compares with a bombing, or with, say, the landslide in Seattle, right now.  All the same, i can’t help but wonder why this all feels so routine and worry about what that means.

Author: rcolonna

crashes, bangs, maniacal laughter.

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