Yesterday, I wanted to use the tennis court for exercise, but there were several little kids playing on the court, and I had brownies in the oven, so I had to wait (for the kids to leave and the brownies to finish cooking). The kids don’t have many places to play, so they get priority (at least when I’m feeling generous).
I kept checking outside, eager for the rugrats to leave. Then I noticed something on the sidewalk near the wall of the tennis court. Thinking it was just a bag of garbage, I ignored it.
Wait. Is that a head?! I took a photo with my iPhone, so that I could zoom in on the image. Good God. It was a head!
I grabbed my binoculars (which had just arrived in our household effects), and zoomed in closer. It was more than a head. It was a woman lying on the ground. All I could see were her head and her hands, splayed up by her head. She looked like a street dweller, and her face was mottled. Badly.
I stared for the longest time, intent to see whether she moved at all. She didn’t. Lying right next to the highway, and immobile. Had she fallen, been tossed from a car, or been beaten, I didn’t know. I watched longer. The medallion on her necklace didn’t move. I couldn’t see her breathing. Lying on the sidewalk, not on the grass next to her. It just didn’t seem right.
I thought about calling the police, but knew that I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain the situation. So, I texted my friend’s son, Arthur. He speaks English, and I have his cell phone number.
“Hi, Arthur. There is a woman lying on the sidewalk just beyond the tennis court wall. Do you think the police should know? She hasn’t moved,” I texted.
Two minutes later, an ambulance screamed past, sirens wailing. The woman moved, brushing at her face, seemingly annoyed at the sound.
“She just moved.”
“I think I see a bottle in her hand.” A wine bottle? Just then, a man walked past her on the sidewalk, sidestepping around her, craning his neck as he walked, but never slowing.
Arthur then responded: “Yeah, I think she’s ‘okay’ hahaha but it was really nice of you to worry about it.”
“I thought she might be dead! Never moving for so long! Ok, let her sleep,” I wrote back.
“It was a good call though. Let’s let her rest. hahaha”
Later in the afternoon, gathered with Tom and Scott at Arthur’s house for coffee with his family and cousins, they all remarked on how “thoughtful” I was to care about the woman on the sidewalk. Arthur said it would probably be a better world if more people responded that way to people lying on the ground!
Each of them cautioned me, however, never to physically try to help, saying that people will lie on the ground or in the middle of the road as a robbery setup. In other words, curb your humanity. Not just here; the world over.
But, really. You see a head lying on the ground…how do you NOT react?