Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Long Forty Minutes

The morning of July 7 was a fairly typical one for me. At 0600 hrs., I was walking into my bedroom with a load of laundry from the dryer. I had taken a shower and woken DS#2 and DD#2 because they had an early orthodontist appointment. The phone rang and I answered.

"Have you seen the news?" Hubs asked.

We have been married for 26 years. I never turn the TV on first thing in the morning. I find it distracts me from the list of things I ahve to do.

"No," I answered, a bit exasperated. "What's up?"

"Watch the news," he said again.

The remote is on the other side of our king-sized bed from the phone.

"Just tell me," I answered.

"Three bombs went off in the London subway," he said. "And on a bus."

I was stunned. My B-I-L works in London. He commutes from the suburb where he, my sister, and their kids live.

"I've got to call Sis," I said. "Bye."

I called her and got the female computer voice: "We're sorry. We are unable to complete your call as dialed. Please check the number and try again."

I did and I tried again. Same message. So I turned on the computer.

My sister was online, but didn't respond to the IM I sent. I sent an e-mail and as I waited for her reply, I read the early reports.

My S-I-L was the first back with a group e-mail. She had called my B-I-L's cell phone and found out that he had left that morning for a business trip to Dublin. He was fine. By then my sister had IM'ed me the same information. We sent a few more, then I had to go.

I yelled to the kids, "Time to go!", picked up my car keys, and thought, "Mom."

My mother was probably asleep. But when she woke up and heard what was going on, the first thing she would do is call my sister. She would NOT think to check her e-mail. Better she hear about the disaster and that my B-I-L was safe all at once.

I called.

She answered pretty quickly. It turned out she had gotten up and happened to turn on the radio. She had tried to call my sister and got the same message I had. She hadn't thought to call her son-in-law's cell nor had she checked her e-mail. She was, of course, estatic to hear that B-I-L was okay and marvelled that he happened to have a business trip that day.

This time we really did need to leave.

"What's going on?" DD#2 asked. She had been sitting on the stairs tying her shoes. "It sounds like something really bad happened and something really good."

"That's exactly it," I said.

In the car, I told DS#2, who hadn't been listening in, what went had happened.

"Wow," he said. "How long did that take?"

"The bombing?"

"No, finding out Uncle was okay."

I thought a moment. "40 minutes."

He was thoughtful. "That's pretty quick."

Forty minutes to cover a continent, an ocean, eight time zones, three countries, all made possible by cell phones and the Internet. In 1989, it was three hours before I was able to contact Hubs and let him know I was safe and sound at Mom & Dad's. And we were only 35 miles apart.

Modern miracles, indeed.