It’s A Crazy World Out There!

This is a subject that I normally don’t like to talk about – terrorism.  Simply said, these days we live in a dangerous world.

There has recently been an increase in terrorist warnings in Europe.  Normally I don’t blink much of an eye about these warnings especially because often I believe that the media makes mountains out of molehills which tend to freak the general public out – though that doesn’t mean there isn’t a threat out there.  However, that being said, I do think as Americans we’ve been “trained” to be more hypervigilant ever since 9/11 and so an increase in security no longer phases us, sad but true, it’s just a part of everyday life and you can be paralyzed by it or you can move on with your everyday life.  I choose the latter – I can’t live my life wondering what if today is the day that I go to Boston/New York/anywhere and something bad happens.  I just can’t live like that.

But there is something about this alert, maybe it’s because I’m not in the States and not in my comfort zone here in my new world – I’m used to being more aware of my surroundings in the States but here in Spain I had not really given terrorism much thought.  That’s not to I say that I’m naive and think that terrorism only happens in the Middle East or in the States.  I remember the London bombing and Madrid on their public transit systems – I know that something can happen anywhere in the world.

And I guess that is why yesterday I realized just how vigilant I’ve actually been here without being fully aware til something actually caught my attention.  And that’s why I felt the need for this entry.  By choice, we do not have a car here in Barcelona.  We’ve decided that when we need one, we will rent one.  So in my daily life I rely on the fabulous transit system here – and I have to say, it is a fantastic system – Boston you should take note!  Most days of the week I hop on the metro (subway) or the FGC (commuter rail) to get to my destination.  So it’s not like I’m not used to riding on the train here.  But yesterday something happened that made me more vigilant.

First off it was probably nothing.  But it freaked me out, absolutely had me almost gasping for air.  I’m sure that I brought on some of the panic unnecessarily.  But I was on the train heading out of the city to meet up with a friend.  When I got into the car of the train I noticed a granny bag (you know, one of those push cart things for your groceries) that was unattended.  A woman that got on the train with me just walked up right next to it and stood there as though it wasn’t out of the ordinary.  However, I just sat there and stared at it.  The realistic thoughts going thru my head were, well, it looks like a homeless person’s bag – it’s tattered and it has one of those trash picking hooks going thru it…there is probably a homeless guy on the train looking for money.  I looked around but no homeless guy.  My friend (whom I told this story after I got off the train) suggested it could have belonged to an elderly woman who was then sitting down and left her bag near the door so as not to block the aisles of the train.  However, it looked too old and tattered and the whole trash picking hook thru me off.  Anyways, that’s besides the point, it’s my reaction that is what I’m here to talk about.

I immediately start thinking, oh my god, what if these terrorist warnings are true?  They haven’t said anything about Spain but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t be a target.  What if someone is actually planning on doing something to this train?  Realistically, yes I understand that this was unlikely.  But you are talking to someone who’s brain is racing out of control at this particular moment in time.  I look around the train and notice that no one else seems to think this is out of the ordinary.  I don’t know how to ask anyone if they are concerned about it… my Spanish doesn’t take me that far.  I get thru one stop on the train and then think, I need to get off of here.  I email Josh to let him know where I am – yes, I was that panicked that I was worried that something could actually happen and I needed him to know where I was.

And so what did I do?  I got off the train.  The next stop, which was at least 7 from my destination and waited for the next train.  I got off that train because I couldn’t bear the thought of what if I was right about this bag?  Obviously I was not, since I’ve not heard anything, thank god, about any explosions yesterday.  And then there is the guilt – what if something had happened and I didn’t (couldn’t) say anything?  I need to step up those Spanish studies apparently.

As I debated writing this blog entry this morning due to its sensitive nature, I came across an article on about these recent warnings (which I have been following in part because we have some upcoming travel planned) and found out that a number of arrests were made yesterday in Marseille, France.  This is a great thing of course!  However, what put me over the edge on this is the fact that on Friday, we are heading to the Marseille area for vacation!  With all these warnings about airports and public transit my thoughts have been, well, we’re driving to Marseille, we’re fine and I’m not going to worry.  We’re not going to an airport, we’re not going to a huge city… it’s all fine.  Then I read this article – these people were in Marseille!  They can be anywhere.  Do I think we won’t be safe in Marseille?  No, I think we will be fine because I think given what’s happened this week, security will be stepped up and we will actually be staying outside the city in a small town, however we were planning to do some day trips there.  But now, it’s made me realize that sadly, these things are all around us in this day and age.

I’m not 100% sure of my goal for this entry. I think it was more of a need to express my concerns and fears that while I feel safe in general, it’s a scary world out there sometimes no matter where we live.  Josh is probably going to read this entry and roll his eyes at me and tell me that there is no use in worrying about things that I can’t do anything about – that I’m not focusing on the right box (Seven Highly Effective Habits – see Josh I do listen).  And Josh, I’m not sitting here in constant worry… I just think we need to be more aware.  And I hope all of you are too!!


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