On Sunday a small commuter plane and a helicopter crashed in mid-air over the Hudson River, just next to my seaside jogging path. It reminded me of US Airways Flight 1549, which had flown into the Hudson back in January; that incident I had only read about in the LA Times—this I got to see first-hand. (I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't excited to be a part of the action.) As I jogged, I passed cop cars, NJ emergency medical vehicles, fire engines and white news vans with space-aged satellites perched on top; I also passed docks that jetted out into the river—one in particular rested behind yellow police tape and flocks of cops because it held what looked like remnants from the collision that had been recovered by divers and tow-boats. Embarrassingly enough, I had the gall to connect this visual to my secret television obsession: "Dexter." This is the show that chronicles the life of a Miami Metro homicide dept. blood analyst who moonlights as a murderer... it's so annoyingly intriguing it makes me want to be a blood analyst, too. (But not a murderer, thank god.) I wanted to be Dexter Morgan, to walk out onto that jetty and investigate all the bits and pieces that lay there as evidence of what had happened.
That is, I did until I hit the swarm of media personnel, all standing with their faces affixed to eye pieces and lenses that were tightly focused on that empty space in the water between all of the police boats. It was just a wall made up of the backs of people's heads, with the intermittent glowing face of a bright-eyed newscaster holding a microphone, there to narrate the story. I couldn't hear what any of them were saying, but the man standing next to me had a radio with him: "Two bodies have been found." And with that, I didn't want to listen anymore. This was not like reading about it in the Times, or watching it on TV, and it certainly wasn't like watching "Dexter." I was 100 feet away from the wreckage of a crash that killed nine people; I saw the police boats swaying in the water, I heard the water lapping against the shore, and I realized that beneath those subtle waves, just 100 feet away from me, there were two people—not just bodies, but people. From behind the stoic wall of print and broadcast news affiliates who wouldn't take their eyes off of the site for a moment, I felt kind of sad.
And I felt bad for stopping, for being intrigued by this kind of event, and waiting along with everyone else for something to just happen.