I went to post office, counting numbers in my mind of how much might it cost to send two small packages to Canada. People walk past me, children, older women. In front of me walks an older man in one of those old brown cheap suits all our grandpa’s probably had. He got my attention, because of the staggering step he made. Then second one. With the third one something stopped obeying him in his body, and he fell onto the bike lane.
Here my mind started playing scenes with people rushing towards him, calling ambulance, someone yelling “move aside, I’m a doctor!“, but you might guess – that didn’t happen. I watched one woman walk past. Then another. Children turned back to look, but kept their distance.
I ran to the man, that’s like five steps really, shook his shoulder, asked him what happened, you know, the ordinary things you do when someone succumbs, falls, or otherwise shows ailment, and/or lack of response. This was the case, the man didn’t respond, but there was no smell of alcohol either, so whole that “ugh, must be a drunkard, so people were afraid to get near” didn’t count. I called the ambulance then.
Children came closer, and since I was in a hurry, I admit, I asked them to wave the ambulance here when they see it coming, just in case, and ran to the post office. Funny thing? All scene was perfectly visible from post office windows, so I could keep an eye on the kids. I saw the ambulance come. I saw them pick the man up. I saw them drive away with him, sirens blaring, and children getting on their way. NOW people looked. NOW people stopped to see. It was safe to gawk.
Here’s the thing. This could be ANY of us, without exceptions. Be you the healthiest damn vegan on Earth, be you a jogger rolling with that healthy life. Be you young, and fit. This still could be you, and people might walk past you just as well. And if that doesn’t get hit you into your consciousness, remember that this could also be your parent.
I’d say no less than 15 years back my mother slipped and fell near a store. As a kid I wasn’t much worried, it was daytime anyway, maybe she went to another store. When she staggered in home bloody, I realized I should’ve been worried. She said she couldn’t move, her head was ringing, she could hardly see. It was a busy place, so not a damn chance on Earth that no one saw her there, on the floor. But people didn’t care. Maybe they thought themselves above this woman, who might, MIGHT be a drunkard. And on that “maybe/might” indifference was built.