Tag Archives: Boston

How to tell if your child has cabin fever

My current situation…

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My (Broken) Hip Neighborhood

I’m not quite sure when it happened. Whether it snuck up on me all of a sudden or gradually yet systematically took me down, I couldn’t tell you. Were there signs and I just didn’t notice them? No bloody idea. All I know is that there is no going back now.

Because somehow when I wasn’t looking, I crossed the threshold from being young and (arguably) hip to being that 30-something lady who refers to every male singer under the age of 20 as Justin Bieber.

And it’s only getting worse. I only recognized about half the people featured at the VMA’s this year. Eating dinner any time after 8 p.m. is now simply out of the question. I don’t know if his name is Tatum Channing or Channing Tatum and about half the time it doesn’t matter because I mistakenly refer to him as John Cena anyway. You can’t convince me that Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato aren’t the same person. My interest in the weather has piqued to all-time high. And I was firmly on the side of Hannah’s parents when they financially cut her off in Season One of “Girls.”

But nowhere is this transition to the “out of touch” crowd more evident than in my reaction to the fact that my neighborhood is in danger of becoming hip. See, right now, no one in Greater Boston knows where I live. I know this for a fact because I have had the same conversation with every single cabbie for the past two and a half years:

Cabbie: “Where to?”

Aprill: “Ten Hills.”

Cabbie: “Where?”

Aprill: “Ten Hills. In Somerville.”

Cabbie: “OK…say it again?”

Aprill: “Ten. Hills.”

Cabbie: “I don’t know where this is.”

Aprill: “…(gives general directions)…”

Cabbie: “Huh. I’ve been driving cabs in this city for 45 years and I’ve never heard of this place. What’s it called again?”

Aprill: “…(bangs head repeatedly on window)…”

And yet, despite this regular hassle, I love my lame, tucked away, little neighborhood that is filled with retirees, nerdy grad students and that guy down the street with all the outdoor cats.

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I love that it’s eerily quiet at 9 p.m. and the loudest noises we have to put up with are dogs barking and that one car alarm that goes off if someone on the block sneezes. And most importantly, I love that I can afford the rent and can afford the few non-cool restaurants nearby.

So how surprised was I to find out that Somerville as a whole is becoming too hip for its own good. And judging by the massive amount of construction work happening across the highway, soon even my lame neighborhood will be adjacent to a bunch of shops, bars, restaurants and apartments. Possibly even a tapas place or two. TAPAS! The ultimate sign that gentrification is looming (seriously, a tapas place once opened in Brooklyn and look what happened).

I don’t want to live in the next Williamsburg. I’m old now. I don’t want all my neighbors to be young, thin hipsters. I’m currently a waddling preggo in stretchy pants. And in the ultimate sign of, if not my actual age of 32, than at least my current mental age of around 68 or so, I don’t want change.

And with that last statement, I think my transformation is now complete.

Now get off my lawn, you damn kids, before I call the cops.

First comes love, then comes (screaming, annoying) babies

It’s karma. That’s what it is.

I just wish I would have realized what comes around goes around before now.

Yes, now that I’m pregnant, my past is coming back to haunt me. A past that I’m ashamed to admit includes some rather immature and inconsiderate attitudes toward the youngest members of our society and their caretakers.

For example, while I always kindly offered my seat on public transportation to pregnant chicks, inside my head I was thinking “Come on, how hard can pregnancy be, lady? Drama queen.” Not to mention the extensive and borderline dangerous eye-rolling I used to do when I’d see those “Reserved for Preggos” handicapped spaces in the parking lot.

I was downright ruthless to the women who used those unnecessarily giant strollers (the Hummer of strollers as I not-so-fondly think of them) or worse yet, the dreaded double stroller. Every time these exhausted moms nonchalantly blocked the doors on the subway or blocked my way on the sidewalk, I’d loudly sigh, say “uh…excuse me” and mutter under my breath about how having children doesn’t make you more important than the rest of us, lady.

Upon seeing kids at the store who were either a. constantly nagging “Mom! Mom! Mom! Can I get this please? Pretty please? Mom! Mom! Are you listening to me? I want it. I want it NOW!” or b. having a weapons-grade level tantrum, I’d silently think to myself “My future kids will never be like that. I’m going to train them just like a puppy to obey my every command.”

Upon seeing an infant and her terrified parents board our airplane, my husband and I  were those people falling to our knees in the middle of the aisle, throwing up our hands and demanding “Why!?! Why, God, why?” as we wailed and pounded our chests in agony until take-off.

And while my husband and I love all the kids we personally know, such as our nieces, we were still those people who got annoyed when some brat we didn’t know started running amok in a restaurant because he was done with his “sketti” and wanted down from the table NOW because he had some very pressing toddler business to do that included touching everything with his sticky hands and banging on the window while singing at a loud volume.

And then…well, then that little pee stick changed color and loudly announced that karma is a bit…rough some times.

(Heh. See what I did there?)

It’s amazing how quickly your perspective can change. Ever since that fateful day, it’s like my husband and I are looking at everything with new eyes. For example, as it turns out, pregnancy is wicked hard. Like, super duper hard, you guys. Growing a human being from scratch is exhausting. I wouldn’t wish this kind of agony on my worst enemy (mostly because she already has, like, three kids and that is punishment enough). So, not only should you give up your seat, but you should also probably carry that pregnant woman around, Cleopatra-style, and feed her grapes while rubbing her feet and telling her how thin she looks.

And as for those frou-frou women with the giant strollers? I have had no less than 23 mothers tell me they are absolutely essential because when you leave the house the baby needs to take all of its belongings with it or else it, like, dies. Or craps right through its onesie. Whichever one is more inconvenient for you at the moment.

I have also been informed by these same mothers that swatting your kid with a newspaper in public, while not technically illegal, is generally frowned upon. As is shoving your kid’s face into their own diaper while yelling “No! Bad!”

Considering both our families live in the Midwest, that screaming child on the airplane who is too dumb to realize that if they would just yawn the pain would stop is going to be ours. Feel free to shoot us dirty looks and to loudly question the cruelty of a god that would allow this. Turnabout is fair play.

With pregnancy also comes compassion and now I suddenly see that those parents in the restaurant are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Because you can insist junior stay at the table, locked into his high chair, in which case he will likely have a meltdown, or you can let him down and let him run amok while you follow and try to minimize the damage as much as possible, but at least he’s not screaming. These parents deserve a free drink, not your contempt, because they are essentially being held hostage by a short maniac in overalls and are doing their best to deal with it.

This is especially true, in my opinion, because in a mere six months, those parents dealing with all that will be us. And while considering our past, we probably don’t deserve your mercy, I can only hope the rest of you are more understanding than we have been.

But if you’re not, that’s OK too. Rumor has it we’ll be too tired to even wear real pants in public, let alone care what you think.

Tips to Beat the Heat (To Death)

Curl up in the fetal position in front of a fan and sob.

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Lose an obscene amount of weight so you have absolutely no body fat and are now one of those lollipop heads who wear fur coats in the summer.

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Make an altar to the air conditioning gods and pray regularly that there are no rolling blackouts.

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Drink alcohol until you can’t feel anything, even humidity.

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Get nekkid. Stay nekkid until October.

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Stick ice cubes down your pants by your no-no parts.

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Veggie Tales…of HORROR!

I blame ice cream. You ever have ice cream? Of course you have. You’re not dead. Or stupid.

So you can probably understand where I’m coming from when I blame ice cream for my hatred of vegetables. You feed my 3-year-old mouth that magical creamy substance made from unicorn laughter and puppy dreams and then a few hours later expect me to be happy when you shove some green beans in there?

Yeah. Nice try, Mom.

As you can see, my relationship with vegetables was tumultuous starting at a very young age. There was the Great Tomato Stand-Off when I was 6, where my mom and I sat staring at each other from across the table for hours, a lone tomato slice sitting in between us. After what felt like a lifetime, the tomato slice was gone but I had vowed to never eat another tomato as long as I lived. A vow I took with my hand resting on “The Children’s Illustrated Bible” so my mom knew just how serious I was about it.

There was the Epic Onion Picking Out Adventure of 1993, where I methodically deconstructed my Taco Bell burrito and then hunted down every single tiny chopped onion there within when the cruel, uncaring teenage workers messed up my order.

And then there was the Legendary Mushroom Vomit Incident in high school, which for your sake, dear reader, I’ll leave the details up to your imagination. (HINT: It was gross).

Of course, as I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten a little bit better. For example, my husband finally convinced me to try guacamole, a major feat considering my inherent suspicion of any and all things green. I actually ended up loving it, so much so that my husband hasn’t had so much as a bite of the stuff since then because I grab it out of the waiter’s hand every time we go to a Mexican restaurant and guard it with my body like Gollum protecting his precious.

I also now like hummus, once I found out that hummus is not the same thing as haggis (Google “haggis,” kids, if you never want to sleep again).

I even will voluntarily eat a salad from time to time, as long as the main feature of said salad is meat of some sort.

But despite these advancements in my palate, I am still at heart a carnivore. So much so in fact, that while most food pyramids looks like this..

Food pyramid

…my food pyramid looks like this…

Food pyramid 2

Meat is my first love and is the main staple of all my meals. The rest of the stuff on the plate? Garnish, pretty much. For example, here’s a typical conversation between my husband and I:

Him: “What do you want for dinner?”

Me: “Steak.”

Him: “OK, what else?”

Me: “I don’t understand the question.”

Which is why when my friend DeDe came to visit me here in Boston a few weeks ago and informed me she was now a vegetarian, I entered full-on freak out mode. Not because she was a vegetarian. I had plenty of friends who were vegetarians. And some vegans. And even for awhile some who were hardcore raw foodists.

No, I was freaking out because I had never had to feed a vegetarian for a week. I kept trying to think of meals I could make for her but my limited knowledge of the food in the produce aisle hindered my attempts significantly.

“Is corn a meal? Can I just make her corn? Or…um…salad? But what else goes on salad besides meat? Is chicken considered meat? I guess I could do something with a potato. But do people actually eat potatoes without bacon bits? Oh god, she’s going to starve to death!”

Luckily, I eventually figured it out.

Kind of.

I did make her a lovely eggplant parmesan (or at least I think it was lovely…I have no idea how it was actually supposed to taste), where I discovered that eggplants are not that pretty purple color all the way through much to my disappointment. We also ate out a lot. And ordered a lot of delivery cheese pizza.

And the girl probably ate more fruit than is healthy for a human since the other options in my fridge were less than desirable (“Hey, here’s some cottage cheese. It expired three years ago but it’s probably fine”).

But the point is, she survived. And I survived. And thanks to this experience, my horizons regarding food have been widened even further. I mean, who knows where it could go from here? Maybe now I’ll even figure out how you’re supposed to eat that zucchini that’s been hanging out in the back of my fridge.

Or is it a cucumber?

Oh, nope. You know what? I bet it’s that leftover corn on the cob from last summer.

GAYPOCALYPSE!

There were a lot of things I noticed when I first moved to Boston. The accent. The history. The proliferation of daydrinking. The drivers with little-to-no regard for your well-being. The accent. The outrageous rent prices. The beauty of the city. The accent.

The one thing I didn’t notice? That gay marriage was legal here.

Of course, I knew it was legal in Massachusetts. It was a historic moment watched by the rest of the country when it finally passed. But it wasn’t really something I noticed in my day-to-day life here other than when I befriended same-sex couples, they introduced each other as “my husband” or “my wife” (which, having lived for most of my life in parts of the country where being openly gay was a fairly dangerous gamble and as such, partners were generally referred to as “my close friend,” was quite refreshing).

But other than that, it never really crossed my mind. And while I have been accused of being fairly oblivious in the past (my dog literally has to place his food bowl in my lap if he doesn’t want to starve to death), even I’m not THAT oblivious. It’s simply because gay marriage is no big deal here.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean that in a facetious way. I know that if the government had told me for years I was a second-class citizen and unable to marry the love of my life and then they finally reversed that decision and I suddenly had the freedom to stand up in front of all my family and friends and declare my love for my husband and have it legally binding, complete with all the benefits that particular institution bestows, it would be A VERY BIG DEAL.

But what I mean by “no big deal” in this context is that it’s a natural part of life here. It’s normal. Par for the course. You love someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them? Well, duh. You marry them then.

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As far as I can tell, when Massachusetts began defining marriage as a legal contract between two people, not just between a woman and a man, it didn’t result in a sudden free-for-all on quote unquote “unholy” unions. The requests to marry one’s brother or father, one’s goat, one’s Japanese body pillow or nine barely legal buxom blondes were negligible. Boston didn’t suddenly resemble Sodom or Gomorrah (fraternity keggers notwithstanding). Nor was everyone suddenly forced to be gay or accept the gay lifestyle against their will. Nor were churches suddenly forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies in their houses of worship.

And as for it ruining the “sanctity of marriage,” my marriage to my husband still seems pretty sanctified.

(We sanctified it just last night…twice…HEH-HEH-HEH).

So while I’m sure DOMA being struck down will cause handwringing on a massive scale and “downfall of civilization” proclamations and hateful rhetoric from certain sectors of the population, I can say from personal experience that it actually changes nothing.

Correction– It actually changes everything for the GLBT community. As for the rest of us, it changes nothing in our day-to-day lives (other than being able to hold our heads up a bit higher because America is finally walking the walk and not just talking the talk of true equality).

Here’s to hoping the rest of the country soon realizes that as well.

You never forget your first time

This is a bit embarrassing but up until a few days ago, I was a 31-year-old virgin. Yes, I had never been officially “F”-ed. I told myself it was because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared for the way it would change my life.

But the truth is, I was ready. More than ready. Hell, I had been ready since the day I moved to Boston over two years ago, all bright-eyed and innocent, ready to shed my small town girl image for a sophisticated city gal persona.

I just wasn’t sure if, after all this time, I would even know what to do. If at this point, I would just be making a fool of myself, trying to fit in with everyone else who had vastly more experience with this kind of stuff than I did.

And then, like most things of this nature, one night one thing led to another. Drinks were had. Suggestions were made. Tickets were bought.

And before I knew it, I had lost my cherry to Fenway.

Don’t get me wrong. I had been around a few baseball stadiums at this point so I wasn’t completely innocent. In fact, my fifth-grade teacher was such a die-hard Cincinnati Reds fan that every year he took his class on a field trip to a game. I also once went to a Houston Astros game with not one but TWO of my guy friends. But since we weren’t really fans, it got kind of awkward and no one really knew where to put their hands.

But neither of those times had been like this. Never like this.

Fenway was not gentle. It was not sweet. It didn’t bother with the pillow talk, let alone cuddling.

But it did believe in plenty of foreplay. Stepping onto Yawkey Way before the main event was like stepping back in time, into a street carnival straight out of the 1930’s. All that was missing was a bunch of young boys in newsboy caps rolling a hoop with a stick down the street. I was being seduced on all sides by the sweet sounds of vendors yelling out their wares and being caressed by a thousand touches as already drunk fans barreled into me.

I was in love.

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Sure, call me a masochist if you must, but as it turns out, I like a little pain with my pleasure. And no where was this more abundant than when we got down to business and assumed the position.

You probably already know this, but the seats at Fenway are not for the faint of heart. They are not for the fair weather fan. They are not even for humans. The engineer who came up with these seats not only didn’t have a butt himself, but had also never met anyone else with a human butt in his lifetime.

Judging by the amount of leg room, he also was a hobbit.

Forget water boarding. You want a terrorist to reveal his secrets? Let him sit in one of those Fenway seats through an entire game WITHOUT the saving grace of the seventh inning stretch and watch how quickly that canary sings.

“OK, OK! Yes, I will give you all the names of my fellow terrorists and where our secret weapons cache is. Just please…PLEASE…let me stand. I can no longer feel my lower half, my back is on fire and I will probably never be able to poop normally again!”

But it didn’t matter. I was already emotionally attached. We were still in the very middle of the act, not even the fifth inning yet, and I was already fantasizing about kids. Raising my kids as Red Sox fans. Dressing them up in tiny Red Sox onesies. Bringing them to a game as a family.

I was even ready to make the ultimate commitment of season tickets.

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Of course, after the game, the magic I saw in Fenway started to fade a bit. Leaving was extremely awkward, what with trying to make a graceful exit from the stadium and then trying not to vomit as some drunk fan on the Green Line kept shouting in my face with his rancid beer breath about how awesome the game was and also how he noticed I had boobs. Two of them, in fact.

But I still have faith that Fenway and I can make this work. And I plan to be back for more.

Maybe even switch it up a bit to keep things spicy and go to an early game for a little afternoon delight.

Brunchers in the Mist

(Alternative title: “Don’t get your panties in a brunch”)

Boston. The urban jungle. A wilderness teeming with exotic species and, at times, dangerous terrain (the Pedestrian/Vehicular Civil War has been raging in the region since 1934).

For the past two years, I have lived among the wildlife naturally found in this part of the world, in an effort to study and document their behavior and way of life. After several months of careful observation, I have come to discover that the creatures found here are much more varied than first thought.

Among the numerous species found in Boston (such as Manic-Depressive Sports Fan, Drunk Sorority Girl and Angry Hobo), is a most curious mammal known as the Native Bruncher.

The Native Bruncher is a result of centuries of evolution and combines the urban dwellers’ natural instinct to flock together on the weekends and their natural aversion to any type of exertion. From what I have gathered in my research, the habits of the Native Bruncher serve on both a medicinal and social level.

While for most of their week, the Native Bruncher forages for food among the alleyways and corners of their habitat, the main caloric staple of their diet is morning-appropriate cocktails and ironically named omelets featuring a fascinating combination of cheeses. The Native Bruncher will drink and eat these items on the weekend until they have amassed enough calories to tide them over for the next five or six days, where they lapse into a hibernation-like state known as “The Work Week.”

Although the history of Brunchers has never fully been documented, it is believed that the very first brunch was held in 1753 in England when a hungover Lord Hamish Cottington Hammingford the IV woke up late one Sunday morning and found that he was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch at the local pub.

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Flabbergasted, the proprietor asked him what he would like to eat: breakfast or lunch?

His response changed the course of weekends as we know it.

“Hmm…well, eggs sound good, but so does steak. Or perhaps pancakes. But then again, a big sandwich might be nice. You know what, how about you just bring me a crap load of all of that. And some ale mixed with something fruity and topped with no less than three fruit garnishes.”

This unique mixture of food caught on immediately among the hungover-impaired peasantry, prompting Lord Hammingford to declare “I shall call it ‘Lubreakfanch!'”

Luckily, his wife, who was slightly less inebriated (having only had four fruity ale cocktails, as opposed to seven) suggested changing it “brunch.”

Eventually the ritual spread throughout Europe and by 1829 was brought to America by a traveler named Chet Avery, who in some academic circles is also believed to have been the first hipster on record and the inventor of what we now call “the soul patch.” Avery was also an avid proponent of the healing effects of alcohol to combat the negative effects of alcohol and making it a staple of the brunch ritual.

soul patch

While Brunchers can now be found in urban jungles all over the world, they seem to be most populous in Boston (although Native Brunchers from Portland and Brooklyn would probably categorically disagree with that statement in a pompous voice while barely looking up from their iPhones).

The Boston breed of the Native Bruncher is also unique in its penchant for “theme” brunch, such as Disco Brunch and for being the first successful species to have brunch on the water (the 1974 sinking of a ship in the early days of this tradition, dubbed “The Bacon-Flavored Tea Party,” notwithstanding).

What separates the Boston Native Bruncher from other species who practice brunch-ery is the way it has honed its skill and timing in arriving to brunch before the phenomenon known as “the rush” begins. For example, if the species known as “Newbie” arrives to brunch promptly at 11 a.m., they will find that particular watering hole already teeming with Native Brunchers. The “Newbie” is then likely to give up, bowing down to the alpha herd, and will then head to a much less trendy watering hole where the eggs are much less fancy.

A close cousin of the Native Bruncher, known as the Permanent Resident Yet Non-Native Bruncher, can also be found in large quantities in Boston. They are easily spotted on the outskirts of the herd, waiting until the Natives have finished and then getting whatever scraps are left over. At times, the Permanent Resident Yet Non-Native Bruncher can wait up to four hours, tiding itself over with screwdrivers and Bloody Mary’s until they are finally allowed to feast. This is also where the Fanny Pack Tourist species can be spotted as well.

Typically, brunch lasts for two to three hours for all of the species, although on certain occassions it can last until 2 a.m. depending on the individual Bruncher’s capacity to ingest large amounts of alcohol for many, many hours straight.

As for what the future holds for the Native Brunchers and their ilk, no one can be certain, especially considering the encroachment of chain restaurants on their native land. But the most current scientific research suggests that mimosas will be involved no matter what.

Top 10 Worst People on the Subway

This is why we can’t have nice things, Boston.

1. Mom with luxury stroller- That’s great that you can afford a stroller the size of a Hummer for Baby Zsa Zsa over there but you’re taking up too much room and blocking everyone’s access to get on or off the train easily. And don’t give me that nasty look when I refuse to get up and give you my seat. I’m reserving it for all the mothers out there with reasonably sized strollers. Besides, your behemoth of a stroller could fit you and half of the Bruins team in it so, there you go. There’s your seat.

2. Hobo that smells like pee- I get it. Times are hard. But next time, try peeing in the alleyway right beside the T as opposed to in your pants while on the T.

3. Guy rapping along to his own “demo” mix- No one is impressed, dude. No. One.

4. Woman with giant purse, which apparently needs its own seat during rush hour- There is a special place in hell for people like you.

5. Gang of junior high kids- I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you just got out of school and are apparently fueled by six Red Bulls and 52 pounds of gummi worms. But no one honestly believes that Tammy the eighth-grader went to second base with you in the janitors closet so shut the hell up.

6. Young couple in love- I’m assuming she’s probably banging someone else on the side hence the desperate display of love and affection but come on, guys, keep it in the bathroom of the basement dive bar like everybody else.

7. Dude who keeps loudly telling his sob story and asking for $15 because he needs to get a state ID or he won’t be able to sign the lease on his apartment and the office that gives out the ID closes in 20 minutes which means he can’t get home to get money for said ID so if you could just spare some money to help him out otherwise he’ll be homeless and normally he’d never do anything like this but this is an emergency- No one is buying it, dude. No. One.

8. That guy wearing the Scumbag Steve hat on his cell phone yelling “I’M ALMOST TO DOWNTOWN CROSSING! WHAT? NO, DOWNTOWN CROSSING! WHERE ARE YOU? BRO, I SAID ‘WHERE ARE YOU?’ NAW, MAN, LIKE PROBABLY FIVE MINUTES. WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”

9. Woman eating McDonald’s- Great. Now we all get to smell like slightly burnt fries. Thanks.

10. Creepy silent starer- Um…yes, I can feel your gaze on me. And every time I try stealthily to look up to see if you’re still staring, BOOM! you are. Learn the rules of polite society, buttface, and awkwardly look down at the floor like the rest of us.

A Mile Away from Tragedy

When tragedy strikes, heroes emerge.

By now most people have heard of the heroism that came in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. The journalist who put down his camera to help an injured woman. Spectators who ran toward the explosions to help, instead of running away from them. The runners who after making it through a grueling 26 miles continued to run all the way to the hospital to donate blood. The police and EMT’s. The volunteers. All of them doing whatever they could in the chaos to help save lives.

Heroes. True heroes.

All of them.

But it’s a different story a mile away.

I watched the horror unfold probably just like you did. I was gathered around a TV with a group of people surrounding me, all of us trying to make sense of a world that no longer made sense. The only difference is I was in a bar along the marathon route. A place where the bartender refused to turn up the volume or turn on the closed captioning for fear of inciting panic. So instead of hearing an anchor give details, all we heard was speculation coming from a dozen different directions at once from confused patrons.

“Oh my God, is that purple stuff blood? Oh God, it’s blood.”

“I heard there are still bombs along the route. We should all leave.”

“No, the police are telling everyone to stay where they are.”

“They’re shutting down public transportation.”

“Don’t use your cell phone. That’s how they’re detonating the bombs.”

“My cousin said one hundred people are dead.”

“No, it’s only about a dozen.”

“I heard only two, but one is a kid.”

A mile away there is no smoke. No blood. No severed limbs. No screams. There is only large groups of scared people trying to sort out the information from the misinformation. We were far enough away to probably not be in any danger but it still felt like we were in danger. We were all desperately trying to get ahold of our families to let them know we were OK only to realize with growing panic that our phones weren’t working. As agonizing minutes ticked by, we watched our phones blow up with calls and texts we were unable to answer.

A mile away, there isn’t much you can do to help. All you can do is hand out cigarettes to people because if there was ever a time to smoke, now would be it. You hand them out to the two guys who can’t stop talking about how two people died and how they happen to be two people and how by that logic it could have been them. You hand them out to the guy walking down the street who is looking for his friend whom he lost a few hours ago and is worried he left to be closer to the finish line. You even hand one out to the young, drunk, scared girl who won’t stop talking about how if a bomb was going to go off, they should have done it at Fenway where there was a game because somehow in her young, drunk, scared mind, blowing up baseball fans is better than blowing up marathon fans. And you just shake your head and forgive her because she’s young, drunk, scared and alone.

A mile away, there is a frat house that turned their lawn party into a way station, offering passerbys water or food or cell phones or cell phone chargers. Or probably, if you asked them, they’d even offer you a much needed hug.

A mile away, there is a former EMT who keeps reassuring you that everything will be alright, she promises, when you hear that another possible bomb went off in a building close to your husband’s work and you start to freak out that he’s now in danger and as an afterthought that you’re all still possibly in danger and the terror isn’t over.

A mile away, there is a someone who let’s you get snot and eyeliner all over his shirt as you cry on his shoulder in front of another TV in another bar farther away from the finish line because you don’t know where else to go when the president makes his address about the tragedy.

A mile away, there is a friend who presses a crumbled $50 into your hands and insists you take it so you can hail a cab home instead of taking the subway since the police are advising everyone to avoid crowds.

A mile away, there is a cabbie who let’s you tell the story of the first time you ever went to the Boston Marathon two years ago when you first came to Boston and how moved you were that so many people would stand for so many hours cheering on runners they don’t know and cheering just as loudly for the last runners as they did for the first.

And five miles away, when you finally get home, there is a husband who lets you collapse into his arms sobbing because you both made it through this horrific day alive.

Yes, heroes emerge in a time of tragedy.

But a mile away from tragedy, there are only people doing whatever they can, whatever gesture, big or small, to help each other get through one of the worst days in American history.