ardent bullshit comes down every faultline gushing heavily into jest kindly luscious melons nodding openly post quakes resting still to undermind various wonderous xylophones yawning zealously

Thursday, June 19, 2008

As Is

Sent out a 354 page grant today. One down, one more to least in the next month. It's a strange feeling putting one of those together. You take pieces of this & pieces of that & put it all in order & make it look as pretty as possible & match the headers & footers & send it down to someone for them to tell you what needs to be changed, what's missing, what was done incorrectly. And then you make the corrections, usually at the last minute since like pregnancy, this takes a while before a product is final. And then you paginate it and make copies and tie it up with rubber bands and send it to the NIH.

When I looked at the clock & it said 5:20 when I got back to the office I realized that in order to make T's going away party downtown & then make it back out for dinner with Jen that it'd be about an hour & a half of commuting, a tapa and no time to relax by the time I made it back to Allston. So I bowed out of tapas & decided to walk towards home. Up Longwood & Seawall & Kent. There are a few gifts for me to wrap for the weekend so stopping by Paper Source killed 2 birds with one stone. Or more like 3: a chance to breathe, get an errand done & exercise.

At Paper Source I found some cute reusable bags & paper flowers to make. The cashier & I talked about how great the movie Mary Poppins is. Very nice trip with a shining sun and nice temperature.

Heading from Coolidge Corner up Harvard St there was an obvious to do since the street had been closed off. For a busy intersection, this was a problem. Heading north past the booksmith and coffee shops the streets were bare other than for emergency vehicles and police officers. A few paces more and to my left I saw what can best be described as a singed sedan carcass and people milling in front of me.

A red haired woman told me that the street was blocked off & we needed to go around the alley way. She had two red haired kids, a boy and a girl, with her. I asked her if she knew what had happened. She said that a man was driving a van and had a heart attack, was going insanely fast down Harvard St unconscious ran into a parked car and another car and another car, which at least one instantly burst into flames. This happened around 5:30.

Naturally responding, do you know if anyone was hurt, which I obviously knew the answer but was a bit shocked at the news. She said that they saw a child being pulled from a car. My throat began to tense.

We turned into the alley way and the little girl asked my name. I held out my hand and said 'emily, and what is your name?'. She also stuck out her hand for me to shake it and said 'Lily'. 'Well, it's a pleasure to meet you Lily. And who is this?', I asked the little boy. 'Max'. They both smiled at me and I introduced myself to their mom. Lily told me that they had been in school when it happened and a few paces we parted ways but Lily skipped along side me and asked whether I was going home. I said I was meeting a friend for dinner and asked if she was going home. She said that they needed to pick up things from school still. (Their mother had left their things there to calm her children with lemonades.) Eve, their mom, had called to Lily and I said it was nice to meet her.

Past the park with all of the kids swinging on swings, I called Jaimie. She asked how it was going and I started to describe the accident and began crying. Tears uncontrollably streaming down my face. How the accident really wouldn't affect my life but how powerful it was to be around the scene and how then I met these two beautiful children and how Lily was so polite and wanted to ask so many questions and I just wanted to pick her up and hug her and tell her how precious she was. I have no idea why that had come over me nor did I act on it. But how incredibly bittersweet the experience was and just how bittersweet life has been lately.

And then I thought about walking into the scene of a tragic accident and how even though a half hour before there were flames and chaos, people focused their energy on helping others. Even as simple as telling strangers that the road was closed to alleviate the congestion of a heavily traveled corner. And how open & sweet Lily was. Just asking away, hoping to hear stories or whatever I had to offer her.

When did we become so guarded? When did it become a bad thing to ask more questions & only hope for more stories? Yes, it's safer, but are we missing out on some really big, wonderful things by staying within our fences? Being safe? When was the last time we extended our hands to someone and smiled and asked what they were up to? Maybe that's just what that other person needed at the time. And their bitter became sweet again.

I'm going to go make a paper bouquet now.

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Blogger iamnot said...

Very powerful story.
Thank God for children.

5:32 PM

Anonymous brooklynseahag said...

Yes, good post-- but I especially like the use of "a tapa."

11:06 PM


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