Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I had no idea what had happened, but a co-worker pointed to the tv set playing in the restaurant Saturday morning. I watched for only a few moments, felt quite sad, but quickly returned to my station and busied myself, and instinctively tuned out the sounds from the blaring tv. Most of Saturday night I was here at the computer, with music playing. Later I turned the tv on just to surf for a minute, and the last few minutes of Woody Allen's Radio Days was playing. It was the part where a little girl has fallen in a well, or cave, or something, and there's this huge effort at rescuing her, and the whole country seems to be following the story on the radio. The announcer says that they have the body, it's coming up, and then, his voice lowered, he says "oh my god, this is awful, she's not alive" etc. One or two more lines, then, "we are ending this broadcast now, ladies and gentlemen, our prayers are with the little girl's family" and we see quick glimpses of eveyone who'd been listening to the broadcast; each one still, hugging a loved one, quiet. The radio is turned off.

And I remembered the tragedy of earlier in the day, and my instinct to walk away from the non-stop coverage, knowing how quickly I could get desensitized if I witnessed microphone's getting shoved into family member's faces, "analyists" arguing over NASA budgets, man-on-the-street interviews of witnesses. I'm sure there are important questions to be asked and answered, and I also know people grieve in different ways; I learned what I needed to know very quickly, and perhaps in a few weeks or months, some details about why or how could be interesting to me, but for know I know I want to leave my initial emotional response intact - sadness for the friends and families, admiration for people who take risks for knowledge.