In Paris, a Night Disrupted by Terror

Pamela Druckerman in The New York Times:

DruckermanWeb-articleLargeParis — IT is a perfectly normal dinner party until someone stands up, checks his phone, and says: I think there’s been an explosion, at the Stade de France. My husband is not at the dinner because he is at the Stade de France as a journalist. Everyone runs for their phones. I say something I’ve never said before at a Parisian dinner party: Could we turn on the TV? Soon people are staring at their phones and calling out the names of familiar places: Le Cambodge restaurant — the hipster noodle shop near the Canal St.-Martin. I passed near there on my way to dinner. (Later we’d hear that the shooting happened at Le Petit Cambodge, its annex.) Apparently there are hostages at Le Bataclan, the concert hall that I walked by at 5 p.m., to take my son to the eye doctor. There was a huge white concert bus out front. No one on French TV — or any TV channel we turn to — knows what’s happening. But dinner-party guests are scanning Twitter, and calling out various estimates of the number of people killed. How could anyone know? We can’t even find a camera showing images from Le Bataclan, where dozens of people are being held hostage.

…My hostess makes up some extra beds for the night. The couple from the dinner party are trying to figure out whether they can drive home, west of Paris. Their kids are fine, but now they’re home alone. My husband is still inside the stadium. The French president, who was also at the stadium for the France-Germany match, says France’s borders are closed. Apparently schools will be closed too. I learn the French word for curfew: couvre-feu. On the news they’re reporting that many people have died inside Le Bataclan. The numbers are unfathomable.

My kids are asleep. Their babysitter isn’t. All I keep thinking is: What will I tell them when they wake up?

More here.