Bomb threats and the illusion of safety

We had a bomb “scare” Friday afternoon here on campus. I got the email while on my lunch break, and I might have literally rolled my eyes.

Because bomb threats are ubiquitous, and empty in my experience.

What a world we live in. In which not even the immediate threat of violence can shatter the illusion of safety.

I drove back to the office passing lines of walking, laughing, joking people (the alert ordered evacuation on foot).

A group of smiling students, in army fatigues, walked by on the sidewalk.

I thought about the people evacuating bombed out cities on the other side of the world. Also on foot, but carrying children instead of iPhones, and food instead of textbooks.

But the streaming mass of people crowded outside of chipotle, strolled under a brisk, autumn sun, enjoyed an unexpected opening in our collective schedules.

Because there’s never a bomb. At least not here. Not in our world of twitter alerts, not under the watchful eye of uniformed, yellow-vested officers.

We are safe.

David and I, relieved of the responsibility to be productive, watched some friends.

At the turn of another New Year, 1999, all the Friends made resolutions. Phoebe resolved to fly a commercial jet. Chandler made a joke about a plane full of people whose resolution was to plummet to their deaths.

They laughed. Phoebe left to hang out at the airport, “in case someone left an airplane unattended”.

It’s weird. The jokes that are funny, until they aren’t anymore.


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