In downtown Binghamton, population 47,000, I found myself in the throngs of noontime shoppers. With my former walking companion, I was in a department store helping her to shop for a baby shower for a little newborn baby girl. We oohed and ahhhed over the cute outfits, purple and pink and yellow and pale green, covered in little flower prints.
I left work and sighed as the 74 degree breeze washed over me. I admired the springtime flowers.
I doubt anyone was listening to our police scanners online, or tweeting about our backyards. We had our 15 minutes of fame on April 3, 2009. But, you know, because of our mass shooting that day, I can identify in some way with that city five hours away. In a small way, we are siblings.
Now, at 8:49 pm Eastern Time, we are in some kind of unreal drama in the town of Watertown, MA. If this had been a movie script, it would have been tossed on the discard pile. Boston Marathon bombers. And, four days later, after a carjacking (with the driver released!), and a police chase worthy of a M rated video game complete with suspects tossing bombs and grenades out of their car, Boston and surrounding areas were in a suspended Friday, mass transit shut down, people told to stay home and stay away from windows. No spring day for them.
Instead, people posting pictures on Twitter. Deserted downtown Boston. Deserted I-93. Deserted Kenmore Square, it's iconic Citgo sign. It's like the movie set of some strange apocalypse movie.
The house on Franklin Street. The suspect, in Watertown, hiding in a boat. Watertown? Boat?
So now, I follow the news on Twitter instead of TV. I find links to eyewitness photos. Links to police scanners. And the most hysterical, side-splitting irreverent tweets. I don't dare repeat them here. It really isn't funny except maybe in a black humor kind of way but I'm reading them to my spouse, while he eats pistachio nuts on the couch and watches a baseball game, and he's laughing away.
And now, it's just been confirmed by NBC news that the suspect is alive and in custody. I read it first on Twitter. Boston, can you breathe now? It's safe to turn off your computers now.
What a spring day.