Tuesday, April 18, 2006

rude awakening

I woke up today at around 4 pm to the sound of the phone ringing. By the time I was conscious enough to realize that it wasn't part of my dream or the usual construction noises that plague my building every day, all day, the phone had stopped ringing. I saw that I had 6 missed calls and five voice mail messages, one from each of my parents and the rest from friends, all making sure I was alive and sleeping and hadn't been down around the old central bus station. It took me a few minutes to understand what was going on. Most of the messages started with something fairly standard like 'chag sameach' and ended with, 'because there was a bomb attack in Tel Aviv.'

What a way to start the day. I'd gone to bed at around 10 am that morning after working a midnight shift, so I hadn't had a chance to check the news again. I called my mom and asked her what happened. She told me at least eight dead and 30 wounded. She also told me it happened at the same falafel stand that had been hit twice before. The last time, three months ago, I remember the owner of the restaurant talking exctitably, saying how lucky everyone was, what a miracle it was that the only person who had died was the suicide bomber.

This time, he told reporters 'There is no second miracle.'

Finding out about an attack is a weird sensation. A million thoughts fly through your head at once, until all that's left is mindless and numb recognition. You call everyone you know to either tell them you're okay, or find out if they are, and then you go about the rest of your day. Today, I got my internet cable installed. Life goes on, we keep doing the same things, even when not 15 minutes away at least eight people are dead from an attack that could just as easily and arbitrarily have targeted you. Did target you, me, in that abstract way. We were just sleeping at the time.

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