I hate the sound of those blades beating the air. When I was younger, it was a sound I associated with wit and laughter, the opening credits of M*A*S*H.
Now? Forget it. When I hear a helicopter I look up to see where it is, and assess which direction will take me away from it. Leftover PTSD from 9/11, I suppose. But it seems as if it’s never neutral. I don’t live in a part of the city where tourists would be taking rides, and I’m not en route to the Hamptons. So a helicopter means something is happening; police searching for someone, news crew filming, either way, I don’t want to be out in it.
Yesterday evening I was out walking a dog in Central Park when I heard them. I felt that unwelcome pitch and roll in my stomach, and then realized the odds were excellent that the choppers were part of the Parks Dept, doing a recon mission to see what trees it would make sense to trim in case Hurricane Sandy does hit New York and have the impact they’re predicting. Does the Parks Dept have helicopters? I have no idea, but the thought worked for me. I reminded myself to buy a couple of gallons of water just in case, and kept walking.
After I was home, I found out why the helicopters were out. A mother’s nightmare, every mother’s nightmare. Two young children were stabbed to death in their apartment, allegedly by their nanny, who was also stabbed but not killed, while the mother was at swim lessons with the third child. The entire Upper West Side, a neighborhood is filled with families, dogs, and nannies. I don’t know the circumstances, don’t know the family, don’t know the nanny, but my heart breaks for their loss.
I heard the mom is a successful blogger, documenting her children and family life in the city. I can’t even imagine the push-pull that will take place for her, not wanting to see the documenting of a happy and complete family, and yet maybe she’ll be glad to have those moments enshrined in cyberspace.
I’m not sure why I feel especially captured by this tragedy. My youngest is considerably older than this mom’s oldest. I don’t live a similar lifestyle. This is, after all, New York. Things like this do not happen every day, but violence is a part of the city. This type of violence, or at least what it appears to be at this point, can and does happen everywhere, city, country, suburb; someone “snaps,” and there are victims: young, old, innocent.
As I am typing, I hear more of those evil blades. Please tell me the Parks Department does in fact have helicopters.