— Quoth the Birdman
I was in the shower when it happened. I got out, dried myself off, opened the door to walk down the hallway of my Watertown apartment back to my bedroom, when my roommate David stopped me.
“There was an explosion at the Boston Marathon.”
I had planned to be there. That was what I thought about first. I would have been there, had a couple of my friends not backed out. To make the hour-plus commute from Watertown to Copley Square in Boston wasn’t worth it if I was going to be by myself the whole time, I concluded.
“Now they’re saying it was two explosions.”
The next couple hours saw me texting a lot of friends to make sure they were okay. I was particularly concerned about Chris, a friend of mine who worked in the John Hancock building, located in the same square as the finish line. Of course, I wasn’t able to reach Chris nor anyone else for a while. Everyone and their mother (literally, probably) were trying to get in touch with loved ones, and the phone carriers couldn’t meet demand. I’ve always wondered exactly how many calls and texts were attempted during the first hour after the explosions.
Eventually they trickled in. Co-workers were okay. Friends in the area were okay. My ex-girlfriend was okay. Everyone I knew. It turns out that I didn’t know anyone injured in the blasts. One was working at a Starbucks that had all its windows blown out and remained closed for a week or two. Another couple were on the photographers’ bridge.
By the end of the day it had been confirmed that three people had been murdered. Hundreds more were injured. Some had limbs taken.
A joint funeral for the victims was planned for a couple days later. Westboro Baptist Church decided this was an event worthy of their presence, and they announced plans to protest the funeral.
My roommates and I didn’t like the sound of this. We had been wondering and talking about how we could help the cause. We decided to join the legion of people who announced they wouldn’t let the clergymen interrupt this funeral. I was flabbergasted by the time I arrived at the church where the funeral was to take place. Tens of thousands of people had shown up. Some were there to honor the victims, others to block the fine folks from Westboro. A lot of people had shown up for both reasons.
When the word spread through the crowd that Westboro wasn’t coming, I decided it was time to go home. President Obama was here, along with untold thousands of others, and they would pass on sentiments that I’m sure were pretty close to what I was thinking to the victims’ families. I felt that my presence there no longer had a purpose.
The funeral took place at a church in Boston’s South End neighborhood. I was unfamiliar with it, so I took some time to walk around after the funeral. The number of cops wearing neon yellow uniforms was staggering. They were complemented by armed forces, many of whom were stationed, M-16s and all, in subway stations. Random bag searches. Bomb-sniffing dogs. All that.
Hours after the funeral I left for my job at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. I was working until close, the 5:30-12:00 shift. It was an uneventful night for the most part, aside from the conversations about the bombings that everybody was still engaged in. I got a text around 10:30 from a co-worker who was walking past the MIT campus. He said there had been a shooting on campus and the place was on lockdown. Scary shit.
I didn’t think a lot of it. It didn’t occur to me that it was the bombers. As horrible as this is, I thought it was “just” a school shooting. I like to think that says more about our society, which seems to hear about a new mass shooting every few weeks now, than it does about me. Maybe that’s just self-serving. I digress.
The area was cordoned off. I had to explain to customers leaving their movies that there was a shooting nearby, and I wasn’t sure if the situation had been resolved. Also, my boss delegated the job of informing customers that they couldn’t stay in this locked building to me. Not fun.
Midnight comes. I can’t go to the T because of all the chaos, so I go to my old apartment in Inman Square, Cambridge, where I still had friends living. My roommates were all home in Watertown, but couldn’t drive due to a few hours’ worth of drinks in their systems. I got to my old apartment, told the people there about the “crazy shit” happening at MIT, and asked to spend the night on the couch in the living room. We started watching Anchorman on HBO.
It had to be around 1 in the morning when my friend Cory texted me. “Are you home? Are you okay?”
That’s strange, I thought to myself. If I were home, I would be in Watertown, the sleepiest suburb Boston has to offer. So why wouldn’t I be okay?
“Turn on the news.”
So I did. And it hit me. It wasn’t a school shooting. It was a last-ditch act of desperation on the Tsarnaev brothers’ part, and a pointless one at that. Killing a young campus cop. I found out a few days later that a friend of mine named Adam was cousins with Officer Sean Collier. Adam had never known him. The resemblance the two men share is striking.
And now the bombers were in Watertown. Fucking Watertown.
I called my roommates, who were quickly sobering up. Nobody knew where the younger bomber was, least of all the Watertown residents. My tipsy roommates locked all the doors, grabbed some knives and a baseball bat, and spend the rest of the night in our apartment hallway, getting as far from the windows as they could.
I spent about 19 hours at my old apartment. I slept from about 5 to 7; the perfect time to sleep through frantic calls and texts from my parents. Friday the 19th was, to this day, the most surreal day of my life.
There were about 8 of us in the apartment that day. It’s a big place, so people would come and go and ask for updates from me, since I was planted in front of the television. It got increasingly funny saying “I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.” Part of the laughs came from sleep deprivation and unusual stress, but also from the idea that there were hundreds of reports and thousands of law enforcement folk trying to answer the same questions.
I still don’t really know how to explain how I felt. I wasn’t really scared, to be honest. I was certain that the younger Tsarnaev had stolen a car and was halfway to Ohio by then. I still can’t figure out how the number of cops, federal officers, and soldiers who were involved in the search on the ground couldn’t find him.
Closing a major metropolis for a day is no small feat. I don’t blame the powers that be for making the decision. Anyone could have been hurt or killed, and what had happened at the Marathon was enough senseless killing for Boston to handle. As the day progressed, though, my friends and I couldn’t help but comment on what this said about us as a society. An entire city shut down in order to find one person. One kid. Sacrifices have to be made in the pursuit of defense, but this was unprecedented. After it all concluded and the city flipped it’s switch back to “on,” I met a guy at a bar who claimed to be in finance. Shutting everything down for the day had probably cost the city a billion dollars. I’ve often wondered about how far off the mark he was.
Back to lockdown. Late in the morning I made the decision to open the door and go on the front stoop. Some of my friends even thought that was too much. Might as well stay inside until it all blows over, they figured. But I wanted to see what an empty city looks like. A city with no cars on the street save for those of the police and the media. The Tsarnaevs lived two blocks away, and the police made a big show about potentially doing a “controlled explosion” in their apartment in order to safely destroy any other bombs that might have been there. A few hours passed and the controlled explosion never happened. My friends and I shrugged, figuring the cops might have fed this to the insatiable television outlets in order to get the focus temporarily shifted from the ground hunt in Watertown, because there were definitely zero updates to mention from there.
My friends and I did a lot of talking that day. We also smoked a lot of weed and ate a lot of bad food, because those were the resources we had at the time. Couldn’t go out to get anything else; nothing aside from the immovable 7/11 was open. Between puffs we espoused on the pointlessness of the killings, the ineptitude of the media, and the troubling notion that, shit, maybe we’ll never find this fucker. The older brother was as dead as his victims, but the younger one had vanished. I don’t know that I’m capable of conveying how spooky that was.
My roommates spent the day in the Watertown apartment hallway. They listened to the police scanner and constantly refreshed Reddit, which turned out to be a hell of a lot more informative than traditional media outlets. We didn’t have cable, so that wasn’t an option. We lived 1.8 miles from where Tsarnaev was eventually found.
Governor Patrick’s declaration that the T would be resuming service at 6 p.m. was, um, strange. They definitely had not found this guy, but life had to go on. That was what I took from it, anyway. I stayed with my friends for a little bit longer, trying to decide what I wanted to do. It feels like a blink of an eye, now, but I guess about half an hour later they found him.
The standoff was extraordinarily intense, and televised live. It’s shocking to think of the number of bullets fired at the boat Tsarnaev was in, and none of them killed him. He just climbed out, bloody, but as alive as anyone watching this all unfold. And then he was in handcuffs, and then he was carted away. And now he is fucked forever. He’s never going to experience the touch of a woman, or hear the laughter of a child, ever again. And that’s fine by me. I don’t believe he deserves to be put to death. That’s what I’ve taken away from this experience. Nobody deserves to have their lives snatched from them, no matter what. If we as a society sign off on his death penalty, then we’ve got a lot more in common with him and his beliefs than we’re probably comfortable admitting.
I think it’s okay that I don’t know why exactly I’m writing this all, now, a year to the day since the bombs went off in Copley Square. Maybe I needed the time to process it all. I don’t know. I’d like to thank you for reading.
As of Tuesday, the average salary projected to be between $3.95 million and $4 million, with the final figure depending on how many players are put on the disabled list by the time opening-day rosters are finalized at 3 p.m. Sunday. That translates to a rise of 8 to 10 percent from last year’s opening average of $3.65 million and would be the largest increase since 2006 or possibly even 2001.
"I’m not surprised. With the type of revenues clubs are enjoying these days, the average salaries are going to go up," New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.
Illustrating the rate of escalation, the opening-day average was $1.07 million when Derek Jeter first reached the major leagues in 1995, broke the $2 million mark in 2001 and spurted past $3 million in 2008.
"I think it’s great. I think it just shows the game is growing, fan interest is there," said Jeter, the Yankees captain who is retiring at the end of this season. "The business of baseball seems like it’s booming pretty good right now."
The average U.S. wage in 2012 was $42,498, according to the Social Security Administration, the latest figure available and an annual increase of 3.12 percent.
Following Greinke on the highest-paid list are Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee at $25 million, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia at $24.3 million, and Seattle’s Robinson Cano and Texas’ Prince Fielder at $24 million each."
— Good night.