I am still reeling over Monday’s news. I am a bit worried about how each correspondent and each network kept reiterating the fact that this was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. I am wondering who is sitting somewhere making plans to break the record?
I first heard about it on Yahoo! when I went to its homepage. For some reason, I thought that the massacre was happening at Virginia Military Institute. I think I saw all the uniformed people in the picture. A little later on, I streamed some of CNN’s news stories, and the campus pictured looked familiar to me. I had spent a week there at a conference several years ago. The newscaster then mentioned Blacksburg and Virginia Tech.
That was when the fear grabbed me. A good friend of mine from Cincinnati is on the Virginia Tech faculty, teaching Romance Languages. I didn’t have his unlisted phone number handy, so I E-mailed him c/o his university account and asked him if he was okay. He called me at home just a little later and reassured me that he was safe at home, and that he had read the initial E-mail alert and did not come onto campus.
That night, I was stretched out in the master bedroom watching Wolf Blitzer interviewing Virginia Tech kids when everything on that side of the room–the TV, the cable box, the fan, Steph’s clock radio–went out. I tried flipping switches at both circuit breaker boxes (our place has two–the top and bottom used to be separate apartments) and there was nothing. I called my landlord and told him what was happening. He was in New Jersey, where his mother is in hospice. He told me he’d look at it this morning. (He’s a retired electrical engineer, so I figured this would be right up his alley.) He did, and he’s totally puzzled. All the outlets on that side of the room are active. He’s calling in an electrician. In the meantime, no cable and I have to run a long extension cord for the fan to work. This house is astonishingly low on electrical outlets.