Ever have one of those "OH SHIT" moments?
As I waited at the airport, the Virginia Tech shootings occurred. School shootings.
But there's a part of you that's divorced from that reality. It's half a continent away. You don't have family there. You don't have friends. It doesn't hit close to home.
It's just news with lots of talking heads and unfamiliar pictures.
Then, this morning, I'm surfing CNN, reading the latest news, obliviously absorbing random trivial details, when it hits me... Like thunder and lightning. A spike to my head and ice in my chest.
This MIGHT be personal. I do have an Alumni there, Power who works as a research scientist at one of those colleges.
I know it's got a "Tech" in it. Georgia Tech? Virginia Tech? Damnit, why can't I remember?! I just know it was a Tech out there on the east coast when I taught way back last year. Bloody hell, what city is Virginia Tech even located in?
Then the mind starts racing. Before it was a vague tragedy- horrific to be sure, but not something personal- it now hits home.
CRAP. I call Power 8:30am this morning... I try to remember which university he worked for.
32 dead. Is he one of them? Fuck.
No one answers. Crap. I look up more details, seeing if there's a list of names of the deceased. I look through my e-mail to see if Power had given me a new number or the name of his college.
I call. And I call again.
I've never had anyone die. Never been to any funerals. Never even heard a real eulogy. This sucks.
And then he picks up. That glorious bastard is alive.
Power, you idiot, giving me a heart attack like that... My heart settles. My palm gets less sweaty. He wasn't at Virginia Tech.
He and I catch up. Shoot the shit. Crisis averted.
But it reminds me, even though I'm not personally affected by it not having lost anyone from there, it definitely hits a little closer to home. Makes it more real. These aren't random people. These aren't faceless victims.
They are real, with real families, with real friends, and real problems. Now, with real tragedy.
My heart goes out to them.
P.S. Quick update from Power, he's been doing especially well and was even able to date Miss [INSERT SE ASIAN COUNTRY HERE] for a little while! You go my FOBby brother!
P.S.S. Yes I know if I'd been thinking logically I could have simply gone to his report and seen the location. Blame it on a totally emotional, panic-induced, non-logical moment.
P.S.S.S. Now it looks to be an Asian male shooter.