I don’t have an amazing story to tell. I didn’t buy a coffee at the Lindt Cafe just moments before terror struck like The Australian journalist Chris Kenny. I sat at my desk writing my usual travel fluff while the world as I knew it lost its marbles in Sydney’s Martin Place.
The terror is finally over for those trapped inside the cafe. Police stormed the building in the early hours of the morning. Tragically, two hostages lost their lives in the final struggle. My heart breaks for their families.
A chocolate cafe … it seems the most unlikely place for such a terrible event to occur.
Working in a newsroom surrounded by TVs meant I knew about the siege within minutes of it unfolding.
Every time there was a new development, the TVs would be turned up to blast level and the hairs on my arms would stand on end from sheer horror.
I work on something called TweetDeck so I can keep track of the Twitterverse and it was quite sick-making to see the images of the petrified, escaping hostages.
The human capacity for judging others never ceases to amaze me.
(And I hope that dickwad feels beyond chastened by the news that Lindt Cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34, has been hailed a hero after trying to wrestle a gun from hostage-taker Man Haron Monis when he was killed. Vail Tori.)
As the afternoon waned, my co-workers expressing disgust about pics of people on social media who’d taken wine to the scene and treated it like their entertainment for the evening.
I’m really hoping that’s an urban myth, though I did see some twits taking selfies of themselves at the scene.
What have we become?
Fortunately, many of us have become better. The viral hashtage “#illridewithyou” is a beautiful example. It started with this tweet …
And another called Sir Tessa suggested: “Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?”
And the rest is beautiful history as tens of thousands of people joined the social media avalanche of support.
Closer to home, it gave many people pause to remember what really matters.
My dear blogger friend Pinky Poinker wrote a post about a fight she had with her bloke and how much she regrets not making amends before he left for work and the drama in Sydney unfolded.
I left a comment on Facebook saying: “Oh Pinky I think we will all be hugging our loved ones a bit closer tonight.” It’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s how I feel.
My kids are still too young – thankfully – to fully understand yesterday’s events. The eldest was bitterly disappointed when our invitation to test out the Green Thunder slide on the Carnival Legend cruise ship today at Circular Quay was cancelled.
But it was a stark reminder that any one of us could have been in that cafe. If it had been a day later, I might have been buying my daughter a hot chocolate before our ship adventure.
It’s a week before Christmas. Christmas isn’t about hate or fear. (My other dear blogger friend The Sharpest Pencil summed it up so well in her blog post yesterday, It’s times like this that I let the people I follow on Twitter speak for me.)
I won’t be whingeing about my trifling woes for a VERY long time. Give me a hard slap if I do.
Song of the day: John Lennon “Imagine”