Friday, July 08, 2005

so. Tavistock Place, know it well, walked through it loads, it's just across the way from the old Badger Mansions. Kings Cross, used to live there. Edgware Road, used to work there. Aldgate East, yep used to live there too. Liverpool St, haven't been there for a while, but three years back I was there every day at rush hour. I'm at home now, just around the corner from London Bridge (where soon a very tall tower will be built). What can I say, I choose to live and work in zone one. Zone one where there are no buses today, zone one where there have been seven four explosions. Call it Blitz spirit, tired fatalism or a lack of imagination, but I can't summon the panic that some others seem to think the situation calls for. Here's what I did this morning. I arrived at work, someone sent e-mail telling us to check Sky News. There's been an explosion - power surge - at Liverpool St. I think "figures! What do you expect with the chronic level of under investment in the tube". Slowly, as the morning progesses it appears that these are bombs not a power surge. I sheepishly call TA, Housemate J and my parents thinking that I may as well check in - yes I'm okay, glad to hear you're okay - and get back to work. Sky News feeds the frenzy and the Americans and one of the Antipodeans in the office start to panic. At some point someone changes channel from Sky to BBC 24, I think that this is interesting. My colleagues become glued to the TV. The sirens outside seem louder and more frequent than usual. The bus explodes. My colleagues think about evacuation and hotel rooms are booked in case people get trapped in the city. I realise I don't have door keys. I plan an afternoon of shoe shopping, since I won't be allowed to stay in the office and can't go home. I hear from Housemate D, he's at home and will let me in. I walk home through the city. Apart from the odd police car, the roads are clear of traffic and, although there are lots of people on the pavements, everyone is calm. I listen in to other people's conversations. For the most part I feel nothing. Not shock, because who doesn't expect a capital city to be a terrorist target (and we've been here before with the IRA so many times); not fear, because it appears the worst has already happened; not angry, because what would be the point; not anything really except perhaps just a tiny bit of pride. The emergency services are working tirelessly and effectively; my fellow Londoners are worrying about how they are going to get home; things are as normal as they can be. I think to myself either you get hurt or you don't, and if you are lucky enough not to be caught up in it there's nothing you can do but carry on. Yes, for those on that number 30 bus, for those on that particular tube and their families this is a terrible, terrible day and my heart goes out for them. But it's still more likely that I'll be run over by a bus when I'm on a zebra crossing than it is that I'll be sitting on one when a bomb goes off. I'm quite angry that the office is closed tomorrow, surely that is not showing the proper British spirit of blundering defiance. And as for Bush's statement...

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