Monday, July 04, 2005

ADDENDUM: (11:32 p.m.)

I planned on ending this little rant there, but things happened. Every day in the city breeds a new collection of experiences, a new yarn to spread.

I was walking down Suydam Street when a man was hit by the car. Out of the corner of my eye I watched him thrown into the air by the impact. He’d run across the street and right into the path of a taxi van. But what captured me the most was how no one did anything.

“Call 911. Somebody call 911.”

That’s what I heard. At least two separate groups of people on the street saw what happened, yet no one did anything. Someone call the police, they say, yet they did not call them. The taxi driver did, on his cellular phone. How long would they have waited?

They didn’t move towards him when he was lying on the ground. No one approached him, except for me. Here’s the deal, folks. If you see aperson get hit by a car, don’t try to move him, don’t try to lift his head. But check if he’s still breathing. Take his pulse at the wrist and listen for his breathing, because if he’s not doing both of those things, he may not survive to see the ambulance’s arrival. That’s American; taking the pulse of the wounded. Whipped pawns stand on the sidelines, waiting for someone else to do what has to be done.

I’m not bragging and I know that’s what you’re thinking. I have encountered this more than once, where a person gives information based off of experience and it’s suddenly assumed that they’re just fanning their own egos.

Another strange thing that happened, and I’m sure you’re all familiar with this phenomenon: the crowd. No one’s there when this man’s needed, but the periphery, the gawker’s circle, is filled to the brim with silent men and middle-aged women. I couldn’t understand their words, but their gestures said enough.

“Why did he do that?”

“Stupid man. Ran across the road.”

“Yeah, they do that. What do they expect to happen?”

Salt in the wound, and the guy’s not even in the goddamned ambulance yet. And they call journalists parasites!

One final confession about the incident with this unfortunate man: I do not speak Spanish. He was Hispanic and when I tried to communicate, he quite probably did not understand me. But behind me was a gawker, a man telling me to do nothing. He didn’t speak English at all, to the best of my knowledge. The point is, if it had been the other man, he might’ve known that someone was there, someone he could understand. But no, because of fear he got someone who he probably couldn’t. That’s how it works. You do it yourself when you’re best for the job. Otherwise, you trust second best, and whether it’s a nation or a single person, there’s more at stake then your own goddamned ego.

Enjoy your fucking holiday. I hope you choked on a rib.

1 comment:

timid_songbird said...

I spent my holiday in a small mountain town thinking on the same thing you lament here. I listened as three generations gave conflicting accounts of long past memories. I glanced around an old cabin that held these memories knowing it's walls were the only ones that would have been able to tell the truth.

What I noticed about all of the stories, regardless of who the memory belonged to, was that it wasn't so long ago when people weren't afraid to help a stranger in need. And if you refused to do your part you'd be certain to pay a price for it, the bill coming from the rest of your neighbors.

I don't understand why we all look so much inside ourselves and are afraid to reach out when our help is needed. How do we stand on a corner and watch, hoping someone else will help? It's not just the traffic accidents. It's how we treat our gift of freedom as well.

We shake our heads and know that our freedom is being eaten right before our eyes, and we don't even blink. We just shrug our shoulders and think that we'll just use what hasn't been gobbled up yet. When will we see that there isn't much left?

I'm no better than the rest of the zombies around me. I watch it and it scares me, and I don't know how to change it. So instead, I dive deep into a dream and try to live in a place where I don't have to think about it. Where I can pretend everything is fine. Where I can dream that men are still men willing to fight for freedoms and liberties that once made this a great nation. Where women are still women willing to raise children that will become leaders instead of parasites.

I don't agree with every aspect you present, and I'm terrible at expressing myself, but it does give me hope that there are others who see these things and don't bury themselves from it. Maybe I'll find the courage to stop watching the accident we call life and do something about the victims it leaves behind....