A strange thing happened last night: we went out with friends for a meal. This is a rarity in itself. A sophisticated evening out for me is burger and chips and a pint (at least one) in our local.
And it was a lovely evening of excellent Mexican food and excellent company. It could hardly have been better. What’s more is that I did not, once, think about last week’s events in Paris.
Many people were gunned down whilst out for a drink and something to eat on a normal Parisian evening. Regular, normal people whose sole agenda was to have a good night out. How could they have known what would happen? Amid the chatter, the laughter, the enjoyment of life, came a group of sick terrorists who would change people’s lives forever and end the lives of many others.
We did nothing different. We got a taxi, driven by an Asian man, had a few beers in the pub and then moved to the restaurant. I realise now that I did not spend any part of the evening looking out the window to make sure everything was all right, or working out where the emergency exits might be in case of a terrorist attack. On the journey home, we all talked and laughed. It was a great night out.
Perhaps in Paris it might have been different and that is completely understandable given what the people have just been through. But we too are living our lives under a very high threat of terrorism so I suppose we could have been forgiven for having doubts, unpleasant thoughts. That we didn’t is the smallest of small victories for ordinary people and the smallest of small defeats for the terrorists. That our lives went on as before, we just got on with things, there was no disruption to our routines.
I thought of this when lying in bed this morning, when I allow my mind to wander, reflecting on the day before and imagining the day ahead, including what I will write. I was quite pleased that things went, well, normally.
I am going into town later on today and having thought about not thinking about terrorist attacks, I’m more aware and I am thinking about it. I suspect I will be paying more attention to my environment, looking out for anything unusual, perhaps, but then again, I might just go into the Record Fair at the Colston Hall and immerse myself in the music. I suppose I am wary, but I am not thinking about the “what ifs” every waking moment.
Those evil murderers will certainly attack us one day, probably when we are least expecting it. That’s how they operate. There may well be another Paris, another Madrid, another 7/7. There will be no victory for them because there can be no victory for terrorism. We have to live with it, hopefully not die by it. Life still goes on.