Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Please don't let me hit the ground.
Today was not supposed to be weird.
I was visiting a school downtown, no big thing. A Cleveland public school off West 25th St. I parked and walked along the sidewalk to the front door of the school, fishing out my lanyard, putting it around my neck. I had attended a matinee at the Hanna so I looked better than usual, I had a suit and tie.
Then I heard this woman calling help. I looked across the street, it was this short, old lady. She was looking right at me calling, "Mister! I need your help!"
I was suspicious. I said, "What do you need, ma'am?" She said, "I need help! Please help me!" She didn't look like she needed help, she looked fine. Also, her voice was odd, not very passionate, like a person who really needed any kind of assistance. Just calling, "Help me!" I walked across the street.
"What is happened?" I asked, "What do you need?" Did she think I was deaf, she just answered my question simply, "I need your help!"
Now I am at the door, and she reaches out her hand, so I take it. "My sister has fallen down and she can't get up." She's pulling me into the house, and I do not want to go into a strange house off West 25th Street, but I follow her into a small, cramped front room. Was I going to be jumped by her grandsons?
"She's in there, she fell down." I say, okay, all right, have you called 9-1-1? She had, and I set down my satchel and looked into the room off the dining room, very small dining room, and there is a bed in a very small bedroom, and a lump in mauve, a woman squeezed face-down between the bed and the wall.
"Help her!" the woman calls, and her sister, on the floor calls, "I can't get up!" So I know she isn't dead, and well, I put my arms under where I think her arms are and lift her up. I have no idea what I am going to see, but I just see the face of an old woman with an oxygen tube up her nose, and then she really starts in.
"Are you the paramedic?" she demands, and I say no, I'm just the guy. She shouts that she can't breathe, and when are they going to get here? Her sister is urging me to get her off the floor and I try. One big herculean effort, like some person who can lift heavy things, but seriously, people.
I do my best. I get her into kneeling position, which must have been awfully uncomfortable, but at least she's not face down on the floor anymore, but we aren't going anywhere. Now what?
Her sister hands me the cordless, and I speak with the 9-1-1 dispatcher. She says they are coming.
"They are coming," I say.
"Why aren't they here?" the large woman in my arms demands.
"Calm down," says the dispatcher.
"Calm down," I repeat, "They're coming."
"And you calm down," the dispatcher tells me. I didn't know I sounded hysterical, but apparently I was. This was stupid. My tie, my lanyard kept falling into the poor woman's face.
"Why aren't they here yet?" she yelled, "I can't breathe."
She was breathing, she wasn't choking, but she was wheezing, it was very difficult for her.
"I am sorry," I said, "They will be here, lean back, against my legs, they will be here."
And they did, they got there. The two paramedics took they're time coming in, I urged one to get her off the floor and he looked at me like I was some kind of asshole for telling him that. They told me to move aside and I did and she just sat there, like I hadn't needed to hold her like that. I just stood around while paramedics and a couple of firemen moved furniture in preparation of getting her out of there. Her sister was in the living room, asking questions that none of them answered. I stood there, in the dining room, not knowing what to do.
Finally, the firemen told me I could go. The sister thanked me for helping. I left, and went to the school, and washed my hands, and tried very hard to watch a scene from Macbeth. I was shaky, pumped with adrenaline and that was unpleasant. I could still smell her, though the smell was not unpleasant.
After class my actors asked if I was staying for the next class and I said no, I had to leave. I told them why, in brief. Andrew said, "Oh man. You should go get ice cream or something."
He was absolutely correct. Which led to another story.
Climate: nice. shiny and nice.
Distance: 3.25 miles
Why Can't I Be You? Playlist
Regret - New Order
Temptation - New Order
Love My Way - The Psychadelic Furs
Add It Up * - Violent Femmes
Girlfriends In a Coma - The Smiths
The Killing Moon - Echo & The Bunnymen