Friday, July 07, 2006

My city

My Mrs. Dalloway mood is upon me again...I feel like I should walk through the city, arms full of flowers. I was going to write about David and his scary face but then he said he was going to start reading my blog seooww...maybe some other time.

Exactly one year ago today I woke up to Dad telling me that a bomb had gone off in London. For me the day was strangely disconnected. I went to work as normal, where all the lovely soccer moms were jovially toiling away in front of their computers, only to plug into the BBC radio which had cancelled all it's programming to bring live updates as the day went on. You can picture me, in the middle of office suburbia, headphones on, desperately trying to keep it together as my only link to London--a tiny voice with a strange accent--told me that there had been four bombs on the Tube (my favourite mode of transport!), and the whole city had shut down. As the days passed and I learned more details about what happened, I responded to the attitude of the city, and the feeling of camraderie. There was always a sense of "well, it had to happen eventually" which I believe too...of course living through something like that is a LOT different from talking about it. But London is OLD and has come through far worse than this. The decision not to come never seriously entered my head, although I got asked about it a lot. (Grandma.) :)

And then today, as I was standing by the doors to the Jubilee Line, thinking about that moment, the moment that I realised my city was vulnerable, a call came over the loudspeakers "Mr. Sands, Mr. Sands to the operations room..." Mr Sands, of course, is a code for "Emergency, but we don't want to freak the passengers!" The train pulled in. And as the doors slid back I took a half second and thought "Am I afraid? Am I going to get on this train?" I did. Even though I was a little afraid. The right-wingers may have overused the phrase "Get back to normal or the terrorists have won" but it's still true. It doesn't stop me from being a little afraid every now and then. But if I stop riding my favourite mode of transport and delighting in the fact that Waterloo Station leads directly to France, the terrorists have won. If I avoid Trafalgar Square during political rallies, the terrorists have won. If I don't eat this cake, the terrorists have won. If I don't get up every day and marvel at the amazing world we live in and give thanks I'm still living in it...well, you get the idea.

Damn, maybe I should have stopped for some flowers on the way home...

1 comment:

Laura said...

I was going to ask you if over there everyone is making a big deal about the 1 year anniversary of Terror Strikes London - because the sure as hell are making a big deal about it over here. Basically I think they're using it as a good excuse to go on TV and say TERROR! a lot. Did they ever find out who was behind the bombing in London and why they did it? things you never hear discussed anymore, like Why?

Anyway, I appreciate your reflections on the 1year anniversary since you were the first one I thought of when it happenened. How are the Brits responding?