Friday, January 03, 2014

Things That Went Bump in the Night

A BOOM woke me up around 2:00 this morning, followed almost immediately by the sound of a second explosion -- and about ten minutes later, by the sound of a third. I got out of bed, looked out my window, saw nothing (I am nightblind anyway, and it was snowing), went back to sleep and slept about an hour past my usual wake-up time.

I'd been waiting for the sirens. If I'd heard sirens after the explosions, I'd have assumed something terrible happened. I didn't hear sirens, so everything must have been fine -- no?  This despite the fact that I live within two miles of the Pentagon, in one direction, and about the same distance from Reagan National Airport, in the other.

As it turned out, everything was fine. Ashton saw the explosions from his bedroom window, on the opposite side of the apartment; a couple of transformers blew, on the far side of the construction site next to our building. He too went back to bed. Neither of us called anybody. Neither of us knew whom to call.

The biggest change I've seen in Washington, other than the sheer volume of people and money that have poured into the area over the past dozen years, is the omnipresent security theater. Signs all over the Metro say, "IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING." Armed police stand on street corners and walk through public places, often with dogs, and no one even seems to notice. Last week I finally broke down and bought a SmartTrip card that tells the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority every train I take to every destination, and how long I stay there, not only by name but by credit union account number.

And yet we had three explosions last night, a block away, and neither my housemate nor I felt the need to do anything about that.

Last night's explosions don't even seem to have taken anybody's power out; I found nothing about it in this morning's news. I was safe yesterday, I'll be safe today, or I wasn't and I'm not. I don't want to be cynical about this, but I have work to do.


Anonymous said...

So you don't know what it was from?

Ellen Clair Lamb said...

They were transformers that blew. We don't know why. Trucks were repairing them first thing this morning.

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