Tonight I will be participating in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. It is an annual event where corporations from around the city, come together to run a 5K, or in my case, walk it after normal business hours. What makes the event fun is companies set up tents that go from very basic (ours last year) to enviably elaborate, including catered food and deejays. Last year, I just came out to support our team. This year, I was roped into actually joining the team. I didn't really have to be convinced. We are having food catered from Famous Dave's BBQ. Plus, there will be wine and beer. So it was really a no brainer. I like free food. It's one of my "issues".
Besides today being dreary, cold and rainy and the thought of me leaving an 8 hour day to go to Grant Park and walk 3.5 miles, I am irritated about the race's logistics this year. Participants cannot bring "large bags" or book bags to the race. At first my thought was, "why?". Then it occurred to me. It has only been a little over a month since the tragic Boston Marathon bombings on April 15th. This is what terrorism is really all about ladies and gentlemen. It starts with a horrible act that is widely documented and reported, but soon after and usually for years to come, it continues with the disruption of our lives and regular routines.
The fact that I cannot bring my tote/purse to the race tonight because I am sure it will be classified as a big bag- rightfully so, is annoying. Or that when I went to the Statue of Liberty during a New York visit a few years back, the security process was as thorough and tedious as TSA's. I cannot tell you how taxing it is to wait in a long line to be screened one-by-one whenever I want to go to my credit union, which happens to be in the Federal Building. Furthermore, I have officially been searched, patted down, scanned with a wand, walked through body scanners of various ilk and been released of belts, shoes and jewelry enough to last a lifetime. But I understand. I get it. As it is often said, this is the world we live in.
That is the other side of the tragedy. That some punk(s) with psychotic ideas and irrational thoughts fuck things up for the rest of us! Twelve years after the September 11th attacks, TSA is just now (as of March) allowing people to carry small pocket knives and sporting goods such as hockey and lacrosse sticks. That's terrorism folks. Most, if not all of the, immediate participants are either in jail or dead, yet we cannot be too sure that someone won't try it again. Now I have to damn near perform a fast paced striptease every time I want to travel.
There is a way to not let "them" win, whomever they are. I will enjoy myself. I will still move around- visiting and vacationing whenever the mood hits me, and it often does. I will not halt my life. I will merely adjust. Is it irksome? Does it sometimes seem ridiculous and overly cautious? Yes and yes. I mean I'm on the Good Guys side. Right? The problem is, with what we have seen, how can anyone know this? So it then becomes necessary- and I will cooperate.
Tonight, as I am eating my ribs and sipping wine trying not to say anything too offensive around my co-workers as I slip into a sleepy-tipsy mix of chatter, I will at least know that some precautions have been made to keep us safe. I will reflect on the people, who like me, were just trying to enjoy a normal day, but didn't get to go home the same way they came, if at all. That alone makes the walk back to the office to retrieve my big bag not so bothersome or long after all.