So today I played hooky from the archives (more on them later – there’s lots to tell) and met up around 11am with a former professor of mine who’s staying on the edge of Chinatown on Shaftesbury Ave. (which street always makes me think of the address of a radio show I used to listen to as a teenager: Rock Over London, with Graham Dene). We walked down to the National Portrait Gallery (passing through Leicester Square, where I saw the TKTS booth — but I still haven’t gotten tickets for anything yet), and walked through about half of the collection, including the exhibitors and winners of the BP Portrait Award. After, we had lunch in a lovely little bistro, where I accidently spilled my white wine all over my senior colleague, but she still paid for lunch (thanks!) and the kind proprietors brought me another glass of wine.
And I did all of this completely clueless that this morning at 2am, not far from where we were, at Haymarket and Coventry St., right off Picadilly Circus, police were defusing and disassembling a car bomb, and that streets around the area were closed off for some time. It wasn’t until my colleague said something about sleeping well this morning because (as she would find out later) the street was so quiet from being closed off due to the scare. What scare, I asked? I suppose I should read the news online *before* I go out.
Then again, I had a perfectly enjoyable, albeit clueless, walk from my room to Shaftesbury on a sunny and pleasantly warm late morning, so maybe ignorance is bliss. After all, what good is fear going to do me? Deputy Asst. Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit, says “we must all stay alert.” Alert to what? What if, while we’re all staying alert for the last thing that happened, something *different* happens? (This is what drives me nuts about the no liquids rule on airplanes and still having to take my damn shoes off.)
So I’ll just go about my business and figure that the concealed-carry law in the state where I make my home is statistically more a danger to me than potential terrorism in London.
A quote from a New York Times article today (2 am EST edition):
“It’s only when I got to work that I realized what was happening,” said Renee Anderson, 32, a New Zealander from her country’s nearby diplomatic mission. “I feel surprisingly all right about it. We all kind of thought, ‘Well, you could be hit by a bus anyway.’ ”
Kiwis and me: san souci.