I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the building explosion in New York.
For those of you who enjoy the safety and comfort of the rock you’ve been living under, here’s the basics: some people in an apartment building in East Harlem smelled gas. They thought they were imagining it. They weren’t. The building exploded, taking down the building next door as well. So far, the death count is up to 8.
Horrifying, strange, and just haunting enough to give me lingering paranoia about the old apartment I currently live in with weird, unreliable radiators. Thinking about the kind of pain those people are enduring makes me stomach hurt.
When I first saw the story, I gave myself a minute to gape at the striking pictures before moving on, clicking through to the next story on my phone. It wasn’t until almost ten minutes later that I remembered about one of my closest friends. She moved to New York after high school.
The last time I sent her a package, I sent it to Harlem.
That painful little pit of dread in my stomach started to pang again as I reached for my phone.
All of the little clues started adding up in my head. I’d sent her a SnapChat that she hadn’t answered yet. We hadn’t texted in a few days. Hadn’t she mentioned a specific bodega nearby? I sent her a text and a SnapChat, waiting with baited breath for her to respond.
That’s the nature of our world today. Without watching the news, I knew what was happening hundreds of miles away. I didn’t call her to see what was going on—I used social media to try and figure it out.
She’s completely fine, thankfully. She and her boyfriend moved a few months ago and I’d forgotten to get their new address. Had they still been living in Harlem, though, they would have been less than a block away.
There are sometimes when I hate the pressure that comes with social media. Having the ability to be there 24/7 can turn into an obligation to be there 24/7. Some of my friends don’t use much social media because they don’t have “the energy.”
And then there are days like today, where social media helps to assure me that a very close friend and her bunny rabbits are still safe and sound in their little New York apartment.
Reuters. (2014, March 14). New York City building explosion, collapse kills 8. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-new-york-building-collapse-20140314,0,1677557.story