November 3, 2020. Just another day – another birthday. This one came rushing in, the world colliding in 24 hours, lockdown starting, election happening, emotions running higher as the date got closer.
And then, this attack in Vienna, the evening before. My home, our home, the home we chose. How close, how madly close.
But what is the right distance, I wonder. How do we care without diving into the drama headfirst? How do we participate, how do we educate ourselves, without making the tragedy more personal that it is?
That evening in Vienna, I heard every helicopter, I saw every blue light. Watched and read it all. I couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t believe the timing of it.
How to withstand the world’s events, I’m not sure. We could ignore them, move on without thinking about it, and we do, most of the time. Or we could obsess, obsess and burn in anguish. See signs in everything, see the personal in all of the communal.
Because it’s linked of course, it’s intrinsically linked. Our lives are individual and social, our fates tied to everyone else’s. I used to reject that shared responsibility, I wanted to make it on my own, a separate element moving freely.
But that evening in Vienna, among all of the pain, I felt a true sense of belonging. And I realised that it’s exactly that shared condition that makes a home. Knowing that your every action contributes to shaping it, knowing it’s forever evolving. Knowing this Vienna I adore is only the sum of us all, slow-paced, grumpy and unwavering.