Boston is where Thirdkit was born. A gross amalgamation of weirdly opinionated football fans sprung from an unlikely place: the corner of Boylston and Tremont streets right on the picturesque Boston Common at Emerson College.
We may not show it often but we have a few serious and poignant thoughts that go through our heads here at TK and yesterday provided the perfectly awful environment for real contemplation.
The number of times I’ve taken the short walk from my old dorms on Boylston down to Copley Square and the Boston Public Library are impossible to count. Still, on two occasions I can distinctly remember making that journey with the sole purpose of taking in the world-famous Boston Marathon at the finish line on Patriots’ Day. Wow… even as I writer this, I get chills. To think that fragile and often random circumstances we find ourselves in can make the difference between living and dying is a sobering thought. Is that all this is? Is life just chance, a roll of the dice? Do we really have any say on what our fortunes hold on this forsaken planet?
Maybe it’s because I’m stupid or maybe it’s because I’m stubborn but I think we do have a say.
Just seeing people walk around today and yesterday and going about their lives made me believe in the human spirit. Sure, we are all a bit shaken but the cowards that did this made an incredibly grave mistake if terror was their goal: Their actions have forced us to rally. Already, we’ve come together to showcase some truly incredible things in the immediate wake of the most shocking event in Boston’s history.
From reports of runners literally racing to Mass General Hospital to donate blood to students raising over $24,000 for victims in less than a day (fuck yeah, Emerson) it’s been incredible to see the positive side of the human condition display itself.
We call Boston the Hub and it’s an accurate nickname. With more than 50 higher-ed institutions in the greater Boston area, it’s a hub of academia, a place where proper scholarly debate thrives. With notable Irish, Armenian, Brazilian, Portuguese and other ex-pat populations it’s a hub of culture, an area in which flags from several nations fly harmoniously.
Fittingly, one of my favorite classes at Emerson was taught by a Greek professor and centered on the analysis of travel literature. For our final paper, we were tasked with writing a piece comparing two of the texts we read during the semester or crafting our own travel writing piece. I choose the latter.
My topic was exile. I explored the idea of being a foreigner in your own home through my personal experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I started my piece with an apt line from a renowned cultural studies figure whose work we analyzed:
“Distance does not inevitably lead to exile.”
- Caren Kaplan
I toyed with the idea that someone can be exiled in their own home in the wake of incredible circumstance. Just as my hometown of Slidell, Louisiana will never be the same as it was before August 28, 2005, Boston, Massachusetts will never be the same as it was before April 15, 2013.
Here’s the last paragraph I wrote in that paper:
“People always ask me how the recovery is going. It irks me and now I know why. It’s not a recovery, it’s not a rebuilding, it’s a totally new place in space and time. It will never be the same as it was, and that’s OK. Exile is part of human nature. Just as a child must become exiled from his pacifier when he gets old, I’m exiled from my old home. We are all exiled from the world we had on August 28, 2005, the day before the storm hit.”
To be exiled is not something negative and Bostonians must come to terms with that. There’s a reality that permeated the city two days ago that disappeared in 13 tragic seconds. However, we have a chance to move forward and construct a new Boston. Perhaps not physically as was the case for New Orleans in the Gulf Coast but mentally we can commit to making this terrific New England city a more welcoming and more vibrant than ever before.
In my paper, I argued that a people or a group truly doesn’t become bonded until they have a shared experience. Needless to say, this experience has bonded all of us here in the Hub. No matter if your a kid from Southie, an old Italian guy from the North End or a hipster from Berklee College, we’ve all got something in common: we’re still living in this awesome city.
So sorry to disappoint you terrorists but we are here to stay. I can’t wait for Boston to be better than ever. I can’t wait to see this city continue to rally. I can’t wait to see a record crowd at next year’s Boston Marathon.
We are all exiled from the Boston we had on April 15, 2013, the day before the bombs went off.
Let’s make sure the ideas and actions we choose to exile are the right ones. Bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia and apathy have no place in the new Boston.
Don’t ever forget that. Let’s make this city even better than it was before and show the world that there’s still some decency left in mankind.