Tag Archives: Boston

Unwanted Perspective

16 Apr
From our office window...

From our office window…

Like most Americans, I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours trying to process the Boston Marathon bombings. When there is so much to love about living, it is truly mind-boggling to realize there are other humans in this world – structurally built from the same materials as the rest of us – who not only can’t feel humbled before it, but feel entitled to strip others of that gift.

I’ve felt this way before. After Columbine. After 9/11. After the DC sniper. After Newtown…

What is new to me is how personal this attack feels. Even though the scale is smaller (at least from a fatality standpoint), this event has rocked me in ways that the others haven’t.

Maybe it’s because my company’s headquarters is smack-dab between the two explosions.

Or because I have more than a hundred colleagues (dozens of whom I consider friends) working in that building.

Or because I’ve mindlessly walked past the two bomb sites countless times in the last few years on my way to pick up lunch.

Or because my  friends were posting photos of the finish line from the office window that morning, celebrating how lucky they were to have such prime seats.

Or because it’s all too real to imagine my co-workers cowering under their desks, waiting for the third blast.

Or because I’d tried to fly in that morning but the hotel costs were prohibitively high – so I pushed my arrival back a day.

Or maybe it’s because all the news coverage shows my hotel and my office building… landmarks that previously made me think “home away from home,” when I saw them pulling into view.

I really don’t know.

Regardless of why this events hits me square in the gut, there are a few things I am certain of:

Those runners won’t stop running because a coward tried to steal their glory.

We should stop using the term “mastermind” when referring to a terrorist. Masterminds are people who find elegant solutions to difficult problems. Killing innocent people? Pretty much the opposite.

The bravery of the first responders – the people who turned to run into the smoke instead of away from it – only serves to underscore the cowardice of the person (or persons) who set those bombs.

The goodness of humanity far outweighs the few random assholes behind events like this. 

Just watch the news or check out your social media channels and you’ll see that last point affirmed over and over again:

The Bostonians who coordinated a directory of private homes where homeless runners could stay.

The outpouring of blood donations at Mass General and the Red Cross.

The stranger who gave his race medal to a first-time marathoner who was unable to finish because of the blast. 

The spectators who rose to the occasion and found themselves pushing wheelchairs and tearing away fencing to get to victims.

The locals who – walking home from their evacuated office buildings – took runners home with them and gave them warm clothes and helped them reconnect with their families. 

Life is good. People are good.

Those beliefs are fundamental differences that separate us from the people behind attacks like this.

Cling to it. Celebrate it. Embody it.

© 2013 Aaron Tango Tang

© 2013 Aaron Tango Tang

Random: Unrelated observations from my week

11 Mar

Lessons in Flying

#1: They say that people seated in the exit row on airplanes must speak English, but it turns out, that’s not true. I know because I sat next to a hulking blond dude who responded to the question “Please confirm you speak English by responding with ‘Yes’ when I get to you.” After seven other people successfully said yes, Vlad looked at the flight attendant blankly, then said, “Da-di.” I don’t think that means yes in any language, but he was allowed to keep his seat.

#2: I saw a man digging through the recycling bin in the airport next to my gate. At first I thought he was homeless, looking for food, but then I smacked my head realizing homeless people generally don’t make it past security since they need both an ID and a boarding pass. Then I decided he was resourceful for using someone else’s newspaper instead of paying $20 for one from WH Smith. Now don’t ask me where I got that InStyle.

#3: The Boston-based flight attendant who helped us bounce back to DC on Friday deserves an A+ for enforcement. She made the announcement about stowing all portable electronica devices, then walked down the aisle, row by row, checking to make sure everyone had put them away. When she found people still using their phones, she said – with a thick Boston accent, “Really? Really? You heard my announcement and just decided to ignore it? C’mon. I’m an Italian mother. Don’t make me pop you with a spoon.”

Speaking of Boston

I was in Boston for a new hire training session. The last time I was there, I mistakenly tried to enter the classroom mid-session by quietly easing my way in through the room’s back door. Turns out, the door I’d eased open was to the EIS closet, rather than the classroom. Which must’ve made everyone who witnessed that wonder what technology I was trying to sneak up on. This time? No such idiocy.

There Goes MY Cordon Bleu

I tried to make polenta this weekend and now I’m considering buying a wrist brace. Have you ever tried to whisk cornmeal for 30+ minutes while you wait for it to firm up “until it begins to peel away from the edges of the pot?” I didn’t think so. It’s like stirring cement. Which is why I asked Alan to help. Although, he didn’t like the way I asked. Apparently it’s not funny to say, “Can you help me with this? I’d assume you’re better with repetitive wrist motions than I am.”

And THAT’S what I’ve been up to. You?

Sending You a Little Love from Beantown

14 Feb

Image Source: BeMyAnti-Valentine

I’m in Boston for work, which means I’m spending Valentine’s Day away from Alan. That’s fine by me – not because I don’t miss him, but because I tend to believe you shouldn’t just show someone you love them one day a year. So by that standard, Alan does a pretty great job of making every day February 14.

Since I don’t make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, it was the farthest thing from my mind when I stepped out to grab a coffee this morning. The streets of Boston were desserted, barring a line of cabs idling in front of my hotel.

The last cabbie in line, an older gentleman, was out wiping down his windshield as I walked past. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” he called. “May you get everything you deserve and more!”

I have to admit, it made me smile. Not just because he said it, but also because it reminded me, when it comes to the important stuff: I already have.

So just in case no one has said it to you yet…

Happy Valentine’s Day. May you get everything you deserve and more!