Feb 22, 2003

Seems like I should step back for one entry and comment on the big fire in Rhode Island, as it was a relatively local event and has been all over the Boston tv channels for the last two days. When those people were killed last weekend in a stampede at a Chicago nightclub, it seemed shocking at the time that in this day and age that sort of thing could still happen in this country. That sense of disbelief is only magnified after seeing what happened Thursday night in Rhode Island. There’s something fairly profound within that about the ephemeral nature of existence, in that one minute you’re at a rock concert that you’ve been anticipating probably for weeks, and three minutes later your out in the cold and glad to still be alive, or in an ambulance badly injured, or worst of all dead an burned beyond recognition because the crush of humanity in front and behind you prevented you from moving the extra 10 feet that was needed to get out the door. I felt the same way after 9/11, that all those people went to work, were in the midst of going about their business, not giving the fact that they were living and breathing a second thought, and one minute later they were faced with smokey stairwells, or with the choice of burning to death or jumping from 90 stories up, or they were vaporized by the explosion as the plane hit the building. Some days you want to do a lot, try to see things, learn things, create things, consume things, whatever, but take full advantage of existence while you have it. Other days you may just want to sit and look around, or let your brain jump from one random thought or memory to the next, and at the same time kind of take stock of it all, let it all pass by. An equally valid use of existence, at least for some of the time. And at any given moment, whether sitting at home alone without the tv on, or out and about at the mall or at work or whatever, you could have an embolism, or the building could blow up, or the car coming towards you could swerve into your lane, or some nutcase could open fire. or any number of things. And some times you would have the opportunity to react, and sometimes you wouldn’t, and sometimes even the opportunity wouldn’t be enough, or you’d choose wrong, or someone else would choose wrong. For me, after 40 years of this, I think it’s a wonder I’m still here, and that I still can’t make any sense of it all.

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