The Week of April 15th, 2013

My allergies started this week.  Also, a bomb went off in Boston and killed three people and maimed over a hundred, fertilizer exploded and killed and injured people and a simple law to require universal background checks for gun buyers got rejected by a Senate before it was even voted on by the same Senate.  But the most important thing to me this week were my allergies.

I’m also moving. Did I tell you that?  I have been living in a great group house in Columbia Heights, with people I enjoyed talking to and a nice place with all my stuff and a backyard and a porch.  Now I’ll be living in a studio apartment in Adams Morgan, paying more rent and coming home to a house with no dogs rushing it, no smell of cooking, no dishes of other people to wash. Don’t get it twisted.  I like washing other people’s dishes.

The semester is cooking down, too. I told all my students what their final project was, what they had to turn into me, how they could pass the class and if they even had a hope of passing.  I had to tell a student the other day that she was going to fail, that there was no hope. This was Monday. On her way out of my office, she turned to me and asked, as casually as I ask how someone is doing, she asked, hey, did you hear about Boston? I said no. Then I went on Twitter.

There were photographes and video available for me to peruse, if I wanted.

I’ve had a few days to think about this, and I’m still not exact how I feel about it.  We have, for the first time, the technology to chronicle every single moment of our lives. Because we have that ability, we are chronicling every single moment of our lives.  We aren’t debating it. We aren’t thinking about it or having long, thought out conversations about it.  One minute we didn’t post pictures of our lives and the next we did, starting with our lunches and then with our babies and then with our unborn babies still in the womb and then with our outings and, of course, the natural transition is to, as much as possible, chronicle tragedy and post it on the internet.

“PROFESSOR!” one of my students asked before I was able to put my bag down.  “DID YOU LOOK AT THE VIDEOS OF BOSTON?”

“No,” I said.  He looked puzzled.  I knew I had to give him an answer, so I just gave him one.

“I have like, no time,” I said.  “So the time I do have I use wisely. And I don’t think me watching people’s legs get blown off is a good use of my time.”

“Why not?”

What I want to be in my life is the guy running to help people and not the guy holding the cellphone taking pictures of people helping people.

Riding the Metro after something like Boston is always weird.  There are less people on the train. The people that are riding the train are a tougher lot. We are a little grizzled.  We all look at each other as if we share the common knowledge that we’d like to be home, safe, or presumed safe, but, I mean, work. You know? There’s always work.

I didn’t even know fertilizer exploded.

The most maddening thing that happened this week was that a bill that should have gotten through Congress didn’t. Sure, the background-check-gun-bill thing wouldn’t solve any problems and people probably would have gotten shot to death whether the bill passed or not.  But we didn’t even pass the bill to see if it could work. We didn’t even try.  Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? After twenty children get shot to death? Shouldn’t we at least try something?  Didn’t some smart dude say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? Who said that?  I guess I’m a little insane because I keep hoping and hoping that people won’t blow each other up or people will support laws to protect each other. I’m wrong and wrong and wrong and wrong.

But, I mean, work. You know? There’s always the work.