The other day, Ariel of Writing Radiation made a post on my Writing Prompt series, and in a meta-within-meta twist, I’m snatching one of the prompts she listed for this post!
I would say I have been reasonably fortunate, and have avoided seriously difficult or insane public behaviour, though there have been one or two moments that have caught my attention, such as the time I was down my local pub with some friends, and we witnessed one drunk guy get very antsy over someone taking a chair, a chair that he was not using, and had no intention of using.
That though, was a minor incident, especially when weighed up against what’s coming next. Waaaaaaay back on the 1st of April 2016 I blogged about this. The incident in question happened at the end of March 2016, yet it has stuck with me. To quote:
Yesterday was quite a busy and long day for my brood and I. In the morning my wife, daughter, step-daughter and granddaughter (and myself) went to a place called Tropical Wings. It’s essentially a zoo, not far from South Woodham Ferrers, and it’s a nice little day out for the little ones – more on this in another post, as I want to keep the good memories separate from the… Well, you’ll see what I mean.
So we’re almost home – the bus is pulling into the station. Our long day is nearly at an end – until we spot a woman who is virtually dragging herself along the railings by the taxi rank, covered in blood. No one is making any move to help her (gee, thanks cold-hearted society) so my step-daughter and I decided we would, whilst my wife took the kids home.
Having tried to see if there was anyone I could call (apparently there wasn’t), and having had her ask me if I’d jump in a taxi to Tilbury with her (I wasn’t comfortable with that, to put it mildly, plus the taxis wouldn’t take her whilst she was bleeding so much), she initially rejected the idea of an ambulance, even going as far as to say she’d try to kill herself. I couldn’t in good conscience not call an ambulance (the gash on her chin was particularly bad and I didn’t think she was in a right frame of mind), but I asked them to notify the police as well.
In the meantime (two further phone calls plus a phone call from a bus driver as well) the injured woman was complaining that she was feeling cold. It was at this point that the ambulance arrived, and she was by now begging for me and my step-daughter to go with her. Being the
saps good Samaritans that we are, we agreed – the ambulance crew cleaned her up, then told us that she was in fact under the influence of alcohol.
My sympathy meter dipped, but the
sap kind-hearted man in me had already agreed to go with her, so off we went in the ambulance! The lady kept insisting she was having a nosebleed, which was odd because there was no blood coming out of her nose!
I should add at this stage that a lot of details are still unclear. She mentioned getting home to look after her dog, she mentioned her husband having left her, and she kept saying she wanted to go home.
When we arrived at the hospital my step-daughter and I again agreed to stick around until she was seen by a doctor. My step-daughter went to the loo and the woman stepped outside for some fresh air – fair enough. It was at this point my sympathy meter dropped sharply.
She asked me if I would go and buy her booze.
Ermmm, no. I can’t in good conscience get an alcoholic (and she admitted she was an alcoholic) a drink. Yes, I can appreciate that sitting around in A&E is monumentally boring, but I won’t be a party to someone’s drinking problem. I told her I wouldn’t buy her a drink and in response she marched off.
You’re covered in blood. You have a bandage wrapped around your head. You have unfortunately soiled yourself too. You clearly need help, and yet you’ve walked away from the place best equipped to help you. To top it off, when I told the paramedic, she told us it turns out this woman had already been up there earlier on, and had in fact punched one of her colleagues.
By now, the sympathy meter had hit zero.
Still, as my step-daughter said, we gained good karma from the experience. We stopped to help someone when no one else would, and stayed at their side, even though we didn’t know her and had no obligation to do so. I don’t regret helping her, for it was the right thing to so.
Needless to say, afterwards I went to the pub!
So there you have it. It was an interesting, and very public display of awkwardness, and chaos. I never did learn all of the circumstances, but it is easily one of the most insane things I have been entangled in (in public).