On Toppling Over


So today as we drove down a fairly busy street near where we live, I saw a man sitting on a little grassy bank just off the sidewalk on the corner at a stoplight.  And as we passed he just sort of … toppled over.  I remarked on this to The Lovely Rhonda because sitting at a corner might be something explainable, like maybe the man was waiting for someone to come pick him up, but toppling over in slow motion and staying there wasn’t so easy to explain.

So we turned around and headed back — the only people to do so although there was a fair amount of traffic in both directions — and pulled off nearby, and TLR popped out to see what was up.  She’s the med/surg nurse, so I leave the heavy lifting to her in these situations.  I stayed in the van and minded the children who were all so heavily engrossed in their jeejas that they barely registered that we had stopped.  Nintendo has a firm grip on the minds of the young.  TLR was phoning 911 before her flip-flops hit the asphalt, and I watched her talk to the man while the cars just wandered past.  He tried to get up at one point but didn’t make it off the ground.  People goggled but no one stopped or slowed down to ask what was wrong or whether they could help.  Sometimes I hate everybody.

Pretty soon here came a fire truck and then an ambulance, and as they attended to the man, a woman came up and began gesturing and talking at what looked to be a high rate of speed.  From her excitement and distress I gathered that she either knew him or had seen something.  I was right.

Once the paramedics and firefighters had things in hand TLR trudged back to me.  Drunk, she said, and took a bunch of pills to try to kill himself.  The woman was his sister.  She was telling the assembled public servants what the man had ingested, which was evidently everything in her house that had a child-proof cap.

We drove on, headed for the swimming pool, and I got a look at him as we passed.  An older guy with a whitish goatee, clean and well groomed, carrying a guitar in a padded case.  He had an honored citizen bus pass around his neck.   I wonder if he’s okay, and I know that he isn’t.  I’m washing the towels from family swim and he’s probably under a 48-hour hold at the ER.  But a little golden chain of hope threads from me to him, whether he is aware of it or not.


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