The world seems determined to kill that little place.
Another attack in France. Another group of police officers killed, this time in Baton Rouge. A hostage situation at a Burger King in Baltimore (not terrorist related, at least from initial reports). I’m sitting here in shock – feeling numbness setting in. Although I am not personally involved in any of these incidents, they brought something that happened to me the other day into very sharp focus.
Like many communities, my area has a grocery store directly across a road from a WAWA. On Saturdays I am in the habit of going to the gym, then going to the WAWA to gas up for the week, and finally making a trip to the grocery store across the road. Yesterday (Saturday) I had accomplished the first two steps of that routine and was sitting at the red light waiting to cross to the grocery store. I looked across the road (a pretty wide main drag – divided highway) and noticed something sitting on the corner diagonal from me. It was just far enough away that I couldn’t make out details, but from what I could see it could have been a large backpack. There were no people anywhere near it.
What the events of this weekend have brought into focus is my reaction to seeing that object. Almost unbidden, I realized I was thinking, “Hm. Do I really want to drive across the road?” My mind went directly to what could be inside this thing if it was, indeed, some type of backpack. Now understand that there is no reason anyone would want to leave an explosive device in that particular spot. It is busy enough I suppose, but we are hardly in a metropolitan area. An explosion there would damage some used cars in an adjacent sales lot, kill or injure one or two people if anyone was waiting at the light, and leave a huge hole in the ground. That’s about it. But that didn’t keep my mind from going there.
When the light changed I decided to go on over to the store, and when I got a closer look at the object I could tell it was harmless. What it really was doesn’t matter. What does matter is my realization of how my perceptions have changed over time. Changed with the world, I suppose.
It makes me sad. It’s hard to keep that little place alive, but I know I have to try.