I made an uncomfortable choice yesterday, which I completely regret. Watching my morning news program, I heard a very loud "boom" that rattled my front door. Making my front door, or even my house rattle, is a thing even a loud car stereo can do. I assumed it was kids hitting the front of my house with something. That is an occasional occurrence, since the bus stop is on our corner. I'd forgotten it was spring break.
I went to the front door, opened it, and looked out. Nothing. Oh well. I walked into the front room and began opening my curtains, that's when I saw them. I could see two Police vehicles blocking my street and two further north. Then I realized all the activity was just south of my home, across the street. I could see at least three more cars, and men in Police vests on a neighbors front porch. I phoned a neighbor directly across the street from me and asked if she knew what had happened, and if she'd heard the "boom". She had. She thought it had been a sonic boom until she spotted the police. She had trouble getting her little dog calmed down, so we could talk.
Some time passed, the mail came and they were still out there. The street was no longer blocked and it didn't look threatening, so I went out to get my mail. My neighbor came out and chatted a minute. Worry and curiosity were probably the main things we were feeling. Not knowing if someone was hurt inside or what the noise had been. About that time, I decided to contact a family member, who works for a local news station, to see if he had heard anything. He hadn't. Before long, I was asked if I would send a photo. I waited a bit, then reluctantly walked out and snapped two photos. I can tell you I felt like some kind of snoop, a Mrs. Kravitz. I never did send the photos.
As I walked back up my drive, the news van pulled around the corner and waved me down. They wanted an interview and I declined. I used conflict of interest... family member employed with you... they jokingly offered to fire him and laughed. They asked again, and I reluctantly agreed. When asked what my worst concern about this event was, I stated "That one of my neighbors is hurt or worse." That didn't make it on air, just a brief statement about the noise, which was fine except for this terrible feeling I can't shake. My neighbors were having, perhaps, one of their worst days. I was chatting to a news anchor about it. It just felt wrong.
I believe in the value of news coverage, but I'm thinking if I had to do it again, I would probably just close the curtains and check with my neighbors after the fact. I am definitely not cut out for a job in news or as any kind of detective, no matter how much I enjoy a good mystery novel. The reality is, no matter what was happening, it was happening to people, to my neighbors. Neighbors I don't know well, but who I care about because they are part of my little community, my world.
© 30MAR2012 aj