Saturday, September 01, 2007

Street people

OK, so no one besides Laurie and me wants to talk about death. Not exactly cheery. No fun in funerals. Ah, well. I hope that when my day comes, I will have few regrets.

Today Kayleigh and I went birthday shopping for Kelsey, who turns 8 on Tuesday. We live close to a bike path that goes around Lake Monona, so there is often a lot of bike and rollerblade traffic and a few walkers. It's about 12 miles around the lake, so even though the walk is pretty flat--only two hills I can think of--it's still a long way to walk. So, we were driving to the store, and a woman was sitting on the curb, crying. She was dressed in sporty clothes and holding a water bottle. There was no bike in sight, so she was either walking or lived nearby. I thought, hmm. Maybe she's tired and can't make it the rest of the way. I thought I should stop and see if she needs help, but I just went on.

But it bugged me, her sitting there all red and full of tears. Maybe someone ditched her. Maybe she got hurt. Maybe she went on a walk because she's working out some inner turmoil and the turmoil overcame her. Maybe she's a total fruitcake. I finally turned around. People should help each other.

I drove up to her, and she looked up.

"Do you need some help?" I asked.

"No, I'm fine," she said, and wiped her eyes.

"Are you sure?" Because we all sit on curbs and bawl in broad daylight. I know I had my sympathetic mom face on, and it surprised me. When did I turn into the Helping Hand lady?

She nodded and smiled and heaved a great sob. "Thanks, though," she said, and turned away, wiping her face with the palm of her hand.

I smiled at her and said, "OK. Take care." Then I gave her a "last chance" look, but she looked at her feet. So I drove away.

She wasn't there when we got back. I hope she's OK.

More cheerful: We got Kelsey some dyno presents. Woo-ha!

6 comments:

Lisa said...

I tried twice to leave a death story and had technically difficulties both times. Here goes...My husband's cousin had a daughter and son in law who were a couple of barflies. They had been at the bar and were driving home all tooted up and got into a fight. The road was very dark, there was a stop sign, and apparently they had gotten out of the car so they could beat each other to a pulp. They were on the ground fighting when some poor bastard on his way home comes to the stop sign, thinks their car has broken down, drives around the car and runs them both over and kills them.

Lisa said...

technically they were technical difficulties, it's late and I am tired

laurie said...

yikes. maybe the weirdest death story yet.

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it was good of you to circle back and check on the crying woman, amy. that's hard to do. so easy to talk ourselves out of actions like that--none of our business, i'm busy, i have the kids with me, whatever.

Amy said...

Ouch, Lisa. I was thinking that a drunk was going to come along and kill them in the ultimate irony.

It wasn't so hard to go check on that woman, but I do wonder about butting in and making things worse. I might have been more nervous if it had been a man. Kayleigh wasn't pleased. I could see her trying to shrink in her seat. She asked, "What if she swears at you?" As if that's the worst that could ever happen. Then she said, "Can I get in the back seat?"

laurie said...

kids are funny about adults disgracing or humiliating them.

when i was in montreal last month visting my brother, i took everyone out to dinner on Duluth Street (for obvious reasons) (plus duluth street has lots of fabulous foreign restaurants).

i ordered a beer, and my 10-year-old niece leaned across the table and said, urgently, PLEASE don't get drunk!!!

Lanelle said...

Well said.