Nothing Has Changed. Everything Has Changed.

25 Apr



For in truth, it’s the beginning of an end
And nothing has changed
Everything has changed.
(David Bowie)


So yes, I’ve been humming David Bowie lyrics in my head this week.  Which only proves that everything has changed.

For instance, my downtown errands.
Since I have lived in Boston, I have never gone 10 days without venturing down Boylston St – seeking help at the Apple store, reading in the Boston Public Library courtyard, shooting the breeze with friends at Marathon Sports, or as the fastest access route to: church, the Boston Commons, the waterfront, the North End, my massage appointments, friends’ homes.

Nothing has changed.  I still venture downtown, I still get to the places (minus the first three) that I need to.
Everything has changed.  There are barricades up around Boylston St – where I watched those final runners come flying into the chute.  There are memorials with flowers and signs and chalk and running shoes surrounding the barricades.  There are policemen guarding the entrances, only allowing those in who live in that area. And I have to walk down crowded Newbury St now.

Nothing has changed on Newbury St.  Mostly expensive shops selling mostly expensive wares.
Everything has changed on Newbury St. Every shop has “BostonStrong” signs or decals in the windows or a letter from the owner about the tragedy pasted to the wall.  Patagonia still has hundreds of signs pasted up – one for each runner who was running the marathon and associated with their store.

And my bike rides home from Charlestown.

Nothing has changed. I still ride from Charlestown across the bridge to the Museum of Science and then dodge runners until I’m on the Charles River bike path. And I smile broadly because the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the MIT sailboats are dotted along the river, people are outside at the various playgrounds, and I am biking faster than the cars are moving on Storrow Drive.

Everything has changed.  A single ambulance siren can give me pause.  For someone who has lived next to the Longwood Medical Complex for four years, I’ve learned to tune it out.  The first year, my parents would call on the phone and pretty quickly say “What’s going on? Why is there an ambulance? Are you okay?”  And I’d explain again that because of my proximity, I hear as many ambulances as I do birds chirping.  It’s part of the background noise.

But on my latest ride…watching 7 motorcycle cops, lights flashing, escort 3 buses (presumably bringing people to the crime scene site) and 5 windows-tinted Tahoe’s through the Storrow Drive traffic jam…it’s hard to not feel a prick of worry.  To remember the past week.

Runs along the river.

Nothing has changed. I still run along the river, I still run.  There may be more runners out  but its hard to tell if these are new additions or just fair-weather friends coming off their treadmills and indoor tracks now that the weather screams “Spring” (except on the days it screams “Just Kidding!”).

Everything has changed. Chalk on the sidewalk with Boston mantras.  Passing MBTA buses that say “We are One” or “BostonStrong” or, yesterday, “Rest in Peace.”  Yesterday morning, my boss suggested I take a break before work got busy and head out for a run.  Try to not think about the last week, just enjoy spring, he suggested.  (Nothing has changed.)  “Just remember that you can’t run along the river because the Mass Ave bridge and Memorial Drive are completely closed for Sean Collier’s funeral. And you really shouldn’t run along Norfolk St.  And maybe not past the memorial at Stata or the 7-Eleven.”  (Everything has changed.)

Eating the first ice cream of the season with friends.

Last Friday it was in the 70’s.  At least, that’s what told me every time I checked the weather on Friday and selfishly wished I could go outside.  On Thursday, ready to do something positive and spring-like, a group of us agreed to walk to the ice cream during our lunch break on Friday.

That never happened.  Although I did giggle when, after an early morning sitting in a cop car, and the rest of the morning stuck inside alone at home listening to the radio and checking the Internet for news, one of the guys texted “So, see you in a few for ice cream?”  If it was any solace, the ice cream store was closed due to its proximity near Norfolk St.

I have not eaten an ice cream cone since last summer.  I am ready for another one.  Nothing has changed.

And yet, everything has.  We postponed our ice cream eating to this Wednesday, another 71 degree day.  And then…the funeral was held.  It didn’t seem right, with 10,000 cops from all over New England pouring into the shut down streets and all of MIT closed so another 10,000 people could attend the ceremony and Secret Service swarms everywhere protecting the Vice President, his wife, and the casket, to think about ice cream.  To even venture out and be seen eating ice cream cones by any of the 20,000 people here for the funeral.  Nothing has changed in my desire to eat ice cream. Everything has changed in my attitude about when it is appropriate.

Receiving packages in the mail.

This came in the mail yesterday.
photoWith this note:
“Hey Liz, thank you again for housing us last Monday!  Hope you’re doing okay! My Mom had picked this up at the expo for me, not realizing she got a Woman’s Small instead of a Man’s small.  It’s just too tight and short on me so we both thought that maybe you could wear it instead? I realize it breaks “runner code” to wear something for an event you didn’t run in but it would mean a lot to me to know that it is being worn around Boston.  You can even become my personal Flat Stanley?”

Nothing has changed. I receive mail. I make friends. I wear hoodies.
And everything has changed.

For all of us in Boston.


2 Responses to “Nothing Has Changed. Everything Has Changed.”

  1. Sarah Hussey April 29, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Wow, Liz… That was so well written! Gave me goose bumps at the end about the sweatshirt 🙂 I’m so very glad that you were there to help all those people in their time of need, and that you were safe through it all! I hope you are feeling better soon, and I enjoy reading your updates here and on FB 🙂

  2. Meg May 16, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    At least you are not humming David Bowie lyrics during a sermon, like the one I heard which was a sermon all about the lyrics “Ground Control to Major Tom.” It is currently in a tie for worst sermon with the one who rewrote the lyrics to Be Thou My Vision in a certain, horrible way. I love you, Liz! Keep running!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: