"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day

4.12.2006

Rendering Aid.

So I'm on the train this afternoon, going to my office. And all of the sudden, there's this guy lying on the floor of the train. I see the conductor walk up to him and shake him. "Wake up! Wake up!" he said. But nothing. I'm starting to get a little freaked out. As I always assume the worst, I think he's probably dead. But I try not to get involved. I look around the train to see if anyone else has seen this, and no one is moved. There's a guy sitting directly across from me who is wearing scrubs. I'm thinking "Maybe he's a doctor. Maybe he'll render aid." My friend who is a murse (male nurse, not man purse) and I were traveling back from Connecticut a couple of years ago and there was a sick woman on the train. I woke him up and made him render aid. And I know, we really all just want to travel to our jobs with no hassle, and maybe this guy was a dental hygenist, but he did nothing. Just sat there all exasperated looking at his watch, hoping for the train to continue moving. It's at this point that I go from freaked out to amused. No one is reacting at all. The train conductor has just left the guy there on the floor. He rocks back and forth as the train moves along. And we're on a really long stretch, between 59th Street and 125th, so it seems fairly interminable. This explains how I've gone through the entire range of emotion. So we stop at 125th. Everyone seems to think "Oh there's nothing wrong with him. Just let him sleep it off." But the NYPD is called in. The NYPD come in and shake the guy and he does not move. I think "He's so dead. D-E-D, dead." And then I didn't see what they did, but he woke up. It is my wish that they held his nose until he got up. In my head where everything is either melodrama or comedy, this is the only logical action. It is here that my story ends as I switched trains during the drama, but I've been thinking about this all day.

Imagine if this had happened any place other than NYC. You're walking down the street and someone passes out. I'm imagining this in Texas, so a woman with big hair and floral capris rushes over. "I'm a nurse, honey. Don't worry. You're gonna be okay." And she begins to render aid. Her husband, khaki shorts, sandles and black socks, calls 9-1-1. A crowd gathers around. "Give him some room. Will ya'll please back up?" but still said politely. And the ambulance arrives within five minutes. The poor gentleman is taken to the nearest hospital where he is treated and released.

But not here. The guy today was probably shaken for a while longer, yelled at and taken off the train. We live in a world here where crazy stuff happens so often that we begin to not even notice it. Lady changing clothes in the street...normal. Man with large snake rapped around him...normal. Guy walking toward you, nowhere near a hospital, wearing only a hospital gown...normal. Naked cowboy...famous. It generally takes a really, really, horrendous smell or flames for anyone to even look up from what their doing. And even then we are not concerned, but merely annoyed.

1 comment:

Mike Z said...

When I haven't been to NYC in a while and I come back for a visit, I find myself reacting to car honks and other loud noises that I ignore only hours later. There's too much noise in the world.