Friday, March 20, 2009

A Crowd of People Stood and Stared

Sometimes life just gets weirder than you can handle.

One thing you discover when you start a blog is that what you type goes straight from your keyboard to Google's ears -- frequently overnight. I have to keep this post as circumspect as I possibly can, naming no names, because I don't want this to get anywhere near Google's omniscience.

This morning, my sister called to tell me that this Sunday past, a somewhat distant relative of mine murdered a rather closer relative. An elderly woman, she was killed in her home where she thought she was safe. Again staying as circumspect as I can, I haven't seen the victim in well over twenty years, and I wasn't even aware of the murderer's existence, despite his relation to me. He is now in police custody, and is unlikely to see the outside of a prison or insane asylum for the rest of his life.

It's one thing for your sister to call you and tell you of a family tragedy. That was hard enough. I'm still rather numb from the shock of the news. I've had an afternoon of tearful and emotional phone calls, trying to piece together the details of the events that led to this horrible thing. But goddamned Google is another -- all I had to do was enter the victim's name and the word "murder" and the thing was described to me in horrific detail. Much, much, much more, honestly, than I wanted to know. I was looking for names and circumstances and legal outcomes; Google gave me graphic descriptions of the murder scene. I was at work, and in my shocked state I had to ask permission to leave and go home. I was not going to be a useful human being after that.

We're such vulnerable things. This afternoon, running a necessary errand in my hyper-attenuated state, I came upon a horrible car crash on Route 7; one car had gone head-on into the side of another. The head-on car was utterly crushed; its front hood now measured no more than a couple of feet. The engine had been slammed into the passenger cavity. Nobody was hurt, as far as I could tell. Approaching sirens howled from the distance. Victims stood, babbling distractedly into cell phones -- reassuring loved ones, I suppose, or informing insurance adjusters of their new premium payments.

A crowd of people stood and stared.

I have no idea how to end this thing.

Go find somebody you love, hug them, and hold them tight. Tell 'em, for tonight, anyway, that Neddie sent you.

Everything ends.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

A local story here. Very sad. My condolences.
ain't it just like the night…

RobotSlave said...

Christ, hang in there, Neddie.

If you're serious about staying away from the Google Goblins, then you need to edit out the particular means by which the deed was done, and just leave it at "murder." As it stands, it's very easy to use that detail to find all those articles you mention.

Neddie said...

Thanks, RS. You're right; I've edited the telling details out.

Neddie said...

ain't it just like the night…

Jesus, Anon! Get out of my head!

Annapolitan said...

I'm so very sorry, Neddie.

giggles said...

So very sorry dear Neddie.... It's one thing to read about a random act of violence or see it on the news...quite another to have it so close....

JD said...

Sorry, Ned. These times seem to get rougher and rougher.

Tor Hershman said...

Places where people “Think” they are safe – and other delusions.

Everyplace is deadly, all we gotta do is stay there long enough.

That’s the bad news BUT.....‘tis also the good news.

I hope your safari becomes less distressing most quickly.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Jeez Ned, that's a shock. Sad story. I'm taking your advice.

blue girl said...

So sorry, Jeddie.

Kevin Wolf said...

Sorry to hear all this, Neddie. The wonder of technology, eh?

Deedledeedee said...

I'm sorry Neddie and appreciate the reminder.

Linkmeister said...

Sorry, man.

cleek said...

We're such vulnerable things

a friend lost her husband today. secondarily, i lost a friend. out of the blue. heart attack at work. my age.

puts things in perspective.

Anonymous said...

Had a snarky fight with my husband just before I left for work. Just called and left a message on his cell (why won't he ever pick up?)telling him...well, you know.

Thanks, neddie

Devils Rancher said...

I never, but never, leave the presence of my wife or children without my parting words being "I love you" because I want to make sure it's the last thing they hear me say if, you know. Damn, Ned. I'm feeling all mortal and stuff.

We hosted a murderer in our home once. Friend of a friend. Supposedly new in town, needed a few days to get on his feet. We wouldn't have taken him in if he hadn't come with a recommendation, but... after a week or so, he disappeared, with some of our stuff. Oh, well, we thought. A week later, he was arrested, all sweaty and out of breath, riding a stolen bicycle that he'd robbed from the college girl he'd just murdered on the greenbelt. A WEEK. After the dude had been in my house. WITH MY KIDS. It's a very odd world, full of very odd and fucked up people.

But I'll add one last thing: Don't give in an inch to fear.