The surreal becomes the new real

Cambridge, April 19, 2013
The brothers Tsarnaev - What else but a sinister sci-fi plot could explain a shoot out in Watertown?

This is not our real world, our real home.

Earlier yesterday someone tweeted an image of Harvard Square, of a Harvard Square devoid of all human life. The kind of scene that's next to impossible to imagine.

Yesterday we were walking around those very streets, doing the kinds of things one does in Cambridge. Buy a book. Browse in a store. Have a snack. Meet friends.

In the afternoon, we joined many other parent-high-school student combos at MIT, spending an hour learning about campus life and academic life.

We paused a while near the Stata Center, Building 32, that really cool topsy-turvy building designed by Frank O. Gehry, the building that supposedly was modeled with rolls of crumpled up newspaper and that sticks into the sky with tilted towers and angled walls and a sense of colorful whimsy, the way one might picture the inside of an inventor's brain, a cartoon castle come to life.

The building where - mere hours later a young police officer named Sean Collier would die, gunned down in the line of duty. Could he have been the helpful MIT policeman who gave us directions to the visitor's center?

By bus, by cab, by car, we drove the streets later that night in a parallel world where we innocently saw the sights, absorbed the scene, jostled with streets chock-a-block with vehicles and pedestrians and road construction, all blissfully unaware that within 30 minutes some dark time-space warp would creep into the same streets, pulling with it a-night-and-a-day of car-jacking, gun battles, and bombs.

What else but a sinister sci-fi plot could explain a shoot out in Watertown? Or streets bristling with police and military vehicles? Or house-by-house searches, with civilian evacuations?

This is not our real world, our real home.

Lockdown Boston. Lockdown Cambridge, Lockdown Watertown. Emptied UMASS/Dartmouth.

In the photos the streets of the city appear devoid of human life. The kind of scene that was once impossible to image.


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