I awoke in the early evening and looked at my phone. Hundreds of tweets, a missed phone call, and over twenty emails awaited me. No voicemail messages, so whoever called did not feel it was important. Tweets can wait. On to the email.
I scanned the message subjects and senders. I deleted coupons from 1-800-Flowers, Barnes and Noble. I skimmed some news titles … blah, blah, blah. I looked at my work emails.
“Urgent – Accident in atrium, cafeteria closed.” Wha …?
I read more. It was only a few sentences and not very informative. “Fatal accident?” WTF?
The next message told a bit more but nothing that I wanted to know. Who was she?
Soon, I saw an article about it from the Chicago Tribune. The email I got from work basically said the same things. But look at the comments afterwards. One of them mentions someone named Maria. I wonder if that was the woman who died, or whether the commenter was making an assumption, or something else.
I was not surprised to see that someone was suggesting possible chemical pollution. I was happy to see that someone attempted to nip it in the bud, even if it was not completely factual.
To make things clear, the incident happened in the atrium of Wilson Hall, about as public a place as you can imagine. Wilson Hall is an office building. No radioactive materials. Nothing worse than what you would find in any other office building. Second, safety here (just like at every other national lab I have been to) is taken beyond seriously. Trust me on this.
So I sit here with suppositions and half-baked hypotheses. I do not know if I will ever really know what happened. That’s probably OK. It is not like I am a family member or friend of the deceased. But I am saddened by the loss of life and curious who this person was when she was alive.
Did she like to dance? Did she like parks? What was her area of expertise? Did she have a girlfriend or boyfriend? Did she like hot dogs? Who was she? And if we had met, would we have been friends?
Too many questions. No answers.
Anyway, I need to get ready for work.