I spent 5 years in Boston, working for the state, preparing state and local personnel for an incident much like the one that cowardly and savagely struck the City of Boston on Patriot's Day. Boston is a closed city in many ways. You either are from there or the region, or you went to school there, normally. I was neither, moving there from New York City in 2004 for a number of reasons. I was dating someone. I thought I had failed the Sergeant's test, and I realized that while I loved being a cop, that I wasn't great at it and I wanted to be great at something.
After moving up there, the relationship fell apart (that was on me) and I ended up working for state government for five years. Most of that time was spent with the talented people at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. I actually conducted drills preparing for the marathon with the very same people who were carrying people down Boylston and undertaking heroic lifesaving missions in the medical tent.
Also, I found a family up there. Boston might be hard to break into, but once you do, you have family and amazing friends. I had friends running the marathon. My friend Sara just had a baby a few months ago and was running while Chuck and her daughter Piper watched. All of them are fine. Physically. Having been in New York on 9/11, I know well that just because you weren't affected with cuts or bruises, there can be damage sometimes to your heart and mind. And while the media talks about Patriots Day, this was indeed the granddaddy of bullshit Mass State Holidays. No offense, Bunker Hill Day. I remember being drunk at 1PM stumbling out of the Boston Beer Works in Kenmore thinking that life is grand. And all those alcohol fueled people swarm down to the marathon route to scream at the runners, urging them on. The Red Sox even have a morning start time at home each year to help. It's a perfect storm of Massholes and happiness.
And while I was watching yesterday, I knew everything would be alright, because I knew who was working there. My friends Rene and Adam in Homeland Security/Emergency Management. Super bright and no-bullshit people that nothing gets by. I thought about Bob Haley of Boston EMS, perhaps the only man that still can pull off a flat top, who is nicknamed Sarge and who commands respect. I just imagined him seeing the bomb go off, flicking his cigarette to the curb and saying "Oh Hell No", in his gravely voice. Bombs don't make Sarge scared. Just mad.
Hearing stories of the professionalism and heroism of the people who responded was not a surprise. They're incredibly capable and they also care a lot about that city and that day. Apologies for the rambling nature of the post. And everyone has one, but I wanted to say that Boston will always be my home in many ways. I love its people and its attitude and its heart. When things calm down a bit, I'm going to come up and drink some Sam Summer, eat some grilled meats and we'll all laugh again.
Until then, you all up there need anything, your tax dollars aren't funding Amtrak's "high-speed" train for nothing, you know.