Last week a blogging friend asked if I was ever scared living in NYC, what with the recent incidents, and obviously, the past incidents. They asked if I changed routines or patterns, avoided doing things.
Quite simply, the answer is No. I did not change habits. I do not avoid things. I continue with my life the same way I always have. Well mostly. I am now more aware of my surroundings. I pay attention to what is around me. But honestly, I live in an urban environment, so I’ve always paid attention. And I wasn’t even 30 when the first attempt was made to disrupt the lives of me, and those around me, so being aware is just ingrained.
So I just live my life, every day, the way I want and need it to be.
Am I scared?
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the endless stream of things that could happen that would shatter my existence. But this list is long, and includes incidents of many kinds. I can not stop bad things from happening. Once you realize that you are powerless, you can begin to live your life with some sort normalcy. Because we are basically powerless, and there is no such thing as normal.
Now you see why I am a bit of a super organized, control freak. I have a need to keep things in order, because I know so much is out of my control. I have to have some sort of order in a world of chaos.
But I go to sporting events and concerts, things with very large audiences. And I get to these places an hour early because I know that there will be a security check. I bring a small bag, because many venues have size restrictions. When I went to the ballet last month, I needed to take my coat off before I went through the metal detector, because coats needed to be scanned separately. Yes, airport style detectors are a norm of my life- I don’t think my daughter has ever entered a large public space that did not include her having to walk through one- she is always amazed when we are traveling and she does not need to go through security to enter someplace.
We have placards on walls stating “If you see something, say something.” This is the New York motto. We aren’t the city that never sleeps- we are the city that reports suspicious packages, and notice if things look awry. This was one of the first things I taught my daughter- if something doesn’t look right, tell an authority. Trust your instincts. My daughter learned this at 3 years old. This is the norm. This is how we live our lives.
I guess it all boils down to an ugly truth. The question is not what if something happens. The question is when will something happen. Because something will happen. There will always be an incident, though they come in various forms.
Truth be told, I have become a bit desensitized to events around me. I check on husband and daughter- I use where’s my phone to make sure I know where they are. I check on my friends. But it’s back to real life really quickly. We know the rules of the drill and we just perform them and get on with it. These routines, these drills- they are a part of our lives. They are the norm. Incident check list is just another to-do list.
Today, my husband and daughter will ride the subway to work and to school just like they always do. He will ride an elevator to a very high floor in a lower Manhattan office building. I will enter very large and very crowded places. I will walk my dog on urban streets. We were at a concert last night, we will be at a museum this weekend, we will visit parts of the city awash with decorations. We will continue on.
We will continue on, because that is what life is. Life is facing what’s our there, head on. Life is meeting the challenges that face us day to day. And life is worth living to the fullest.
Peace to you all!