The Fourth of July was like any other 4th with the exception of its ending. I went down to the Parkway for the typical festivities, retrieved some free WaWa beverages and proceeded to go home to my air conditioning to make adult beverages. Around 6 I headed down to the concerts and fireworks. I was pretty excited to see J. Cole, Ne-Yo, Hunter Hayes and the Roots. I parked my behind on a curb right in front of the jumbotron. I didn't want to head down towards the stage because the seating area is really blocked off, you can't see anything and I tried to win seats this year and that failed. My spot was nice except for after about 2.5 hours sitting on a curb in shorts, adjusting into every position imaginable, my butt hurt and I was sweating everywhere.
Alas, the concert ended and I made my way to the middle of the Parkway to watch the fireworks. As I stepped over some girl's outstretched legs, someone yelled "Hey!" Turns out, a friend from college who graduated the year before me was attending the fireworks as well and she recognized me! I was really glad to see her and we caught up for a few minutes before the fireworks started.
The show was spectacular until I heard screaming coming from my right. I looked over and saw the crowd of people screaming and running towards me. "He's got a gun! He's got a gun!" someone yelled in a panic.
I was in the dead center of the Parkway. Oddly enough I was calm. I knew I had to move because I'd risk getting trampled if I stayed put. The "threat" was the last thing on my mind. As I turned to seek an open area to the left of the Parkway, I power walked through debris and checked for people on the ground. The whole time I kept saying in my head "Don't fall. Don't fall. Don't trip. Don't fall." If I did either of these things, I'd surely be injured. I made it to the side of the Parkway without incident. People were running and crying everywhere. I found a woman bent over trying to stand up. I put my hand on her back and tried to stay with her to see if I could help her up. As I moved to the front of her, another wave of panicked people came rushing towards us and I had to move. I wasn't able to help her as she fell down again.
The Parkway was littered with coolers, chairs, bottles, shoes, pretty much everything imaginable. I meandered closer to the Art Museum so I could watch the Grand Finale of the fireworks. As they ended I made my way home, fortunate enough to run into my friend from college and her group. She was fine, we hugged and said we were happy to see each other and catch up.
The scene on my way home was something out of a movie. People crying. Mother's crying hysterically because they had lost their kid in the fray. Children crying because they lost their mothers. People's nerves shattered. Police and fire trucks everywhere. I never cried, I never panicked and I was never worried about getting shot or blown to bits. I'm glad I stayed calm in the face of panic, but I worry my response wasn't as "flight" as it should be. Am I that desensitized to violence in Philadelphia?
Friday came and went, a quiet day at work with limited staff, for smart people called out to have a four day weekend. Then it was the weekend.
I've been having trouble sleeping lately. I've been real lethargic and just, unwilling to move about. I spent a lot of time eating and watching Netflix this weekend. I even skipped kickboxing on Saturday which is very much not like me. I'm so tired but I can't seem to sleep, yet on Saturday and Sunday I got out of bed around noon and 1pm. I'm dreading the week ahead as well.
So it has been a bit of a blah weekend. I'm hoping the week will be better but it won't. I have to haul ass to accomplish some tasks before I leave for a brief vacation to the Shore next weekend. Oh well, such is life.
Until next time....
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