Monday, October 25, 2010
I came out of my house this afternoon to dump some trash and walked right into the middle of a neighborhood drama.
I had the day off from work and I thought I’d relax and enjoy the lovely weather. But things didn’t go according to plan.
I was about to go back into my house when I saw some people standing in a semi-circle around an Asian woman who was stretched out on the ground a few houses away from mine.
She was barefoot, clad in pajamas, and rolling her head from side to side, sobbing and moaning unintelligibly.
One of my neighbors told me that he had seen her walk up the block, sit down on the ground near his house and lay down on the pavement.
She continued to roll her head and wail, while one man dialed 911 and the rest of tried to figure out what the hell was going on.
I spoke to her softly to calm her down, but I don’t think she heard me. I wondered if she had gotten out of a mental hospital, given the pajamas and the lack of shoes. If she lived around here, then somebody should have been watching her.
I asked one Asian woman standing near me if she could speak with this lady and find out what the trouble was, but she informed me that she wasn’t Chinese. Hand me that dunce cap, if you please...
Another neighbor who did speak Chinese said the woman wasn't making any sense. Then somebody else heard her say something about her son…and then she mentioned a number, which we took to be an address on the block.
One of my neighbors—I don’t know anyone’s name—went to that particular house and told a young man who lived there what was happening.
The young fellow said this woman lived upstairs from him. He started asking her questions and we learned that her son and her husband had gotten into some kind of fight and that they had never gotten along. She wouldn’t stop crying or get up off the ground.
“She said she wants her son back,” he said.
We talked among ourselves while waiting for the ambulance to arrive and the group grew larger as people stopped to ask us what had happened.
An EMT from the Fire Department arrived and started asking questions, though it was slow going due to the language barrier and the woman’s condition. He called for help on his radio.
“You’re breaking up,” a static-filled voice said.
“Clean the shit out of your ears,” the EMT muttered as he took out his cell phone.
I helped him and the young neighbor get the woman to her feet in an effort to sit her down on a nearby stoop, but she wouldn’t cooperate, and we had to put her back down on the sidewalk. And then the poor woman started to vomit.
A police car and an ambulance arrived and we had a minor traffic jam happening on the block, complete with blaring horns. The woman continued to cry and moan and then she got to her knees and began bowing before the young translator. He took hold of her arms and made her stop.
I felt a little ghoulish standing there, but just walking away wouldn’t have been right either.
The police officers helped this woman down to her home, but there was no one inside. Finally two EMTs put her on a stretcher and wheeled her to the ambulance.
“The whole block is out,” one of them said to his partner.
It wasn’t the whole block, but, yes, there were a lot of people watcing them. To be honest, how often does this kind of thing happen?
And while this woman may live on my block, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before today. I doubt if I’ll ever find out the whole story here, but I hope she gets the help need she so clearly needs.