Normally, I largely ignore the Breaking News alerts about mass shootings, weather disasters, traffic pileups… I’m just as much of a rubbernecker as anyone, but those early reports are so inaccurate, unclear, and incomplete that I prefer to wait a day or two to try and get a more coherent story.
But not today. Because today’s drama is personal. My mother works in Binghamton, where there is currently a hostage situation with thirteen confirmed fatalities. She doesn’t work in that building, and I don’t know that she was even in Binghamton at all today – her job takes her around a good portion of upstate New York – but I can’t reach her by cell phone, which is very unusual.
I’m not panicked, because the chances that she is at all involved are so small. But still, I’m worried, and waiting for her to call me back. I was able to get through to my sister’s high school and confirmed that she was there and safe and didn’t have to leave early for physical therapy or some such, which at least sometimes occurs in Binghamton. My other sister is an hour away from them, at grad school. So, they’re OK, and I’m just waiting on confirmation that Mom is OK.
Amazing how much closer the news feels when you have a tie to the area. Even more so when that tie is one of the most important people in your life.
As an update: everyone is perfectly fine. Mom was in Binghamton today, but not in the exciting part of town. Now it can all just go back to being another horrible news story.