Thursday, March 12, 2009

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

The Leopard was waiting on line at the post office on his lunch hour the other day when a middle aged woman a few feet away suddenly fell to the floor with a sharp thump and began shaking uncontrollably, clutched in seizure.

It was interesting to see how the 100 or so folks in the crowded office reacted to the spectacle. Some nonchalantly walked by and paid her little or no mind. Some immediately ran over to comfort her. An elderly man shouted, "Put a pencil in her mouth so she won't bite her tongue off!", but didn't relinquish his position on line. There was no doctor in the house, so several people made calls from their cell phones, staying put in case they were called to the counter. After a few minutes, there was a tangible awkwardness in the air. One woman who had came over and was now resting the woman's head in her lap kept whispering, "It will be all right, dear, It will be all right." After all the calls had been made, and the authorities had been notified, there was nothing to do but wait. The only comment made by the few people still interested was, "Wonder when they'll get here"? Most people seemed simply bored, as if they wished they could turn the channel to another show.

After about 15 minutes, as the Leopard stepped into the street and noticed that the ambulance had finally arrived, I felt relieved. Part of my belief in the milk of human kindness was restored.