Sure, I have stuff happen, but most of it is dull and boring. Then, along comes a day like today where stuff happens... not all of it totally drastic, but it's a day of total emotional ups and downs (maybe I should say downs and ups...) that I wonder if I live in some sort of stasis field that keeps me somewhat protected from the world for about eighteen days. Yes, there is significance to picking 18 days... cause 18 days ago, was when I found that woman in the park who had the seizure. This will make sense later.
But, if you really want to hear about my day, I'll let you pick how you want to hear... and I'm going to write this in reverse order of how things happened, cause... well, I'd rather start with the good.
This was on my second attempt to walk today. I was at the park, and there was a young father with three kids. Yeah, he was probably a little young to have three kids, but eh, the kids were clean, well behaived, and polite. So, clearly even if he's young, he's handling it.
One of the kids was a little boy about two who was bound and determined to walk with me. Keep in mind that a walk around the park, if you follow all the edges is a bit over half a mile. For me that's about 12,000 footsteps. For him, it's probably closer to 24,000 footsteps. But he was determined. And cute as the dickens too. Of course, I had to walk very slow. The father was mortified that his son kept following me around, and normally, I'm not too keen on little children who follow me, but there was something about this little guy that just made me take to him. I don't know if it was the dark hair, the dark eyes, or the extremely thick lashes... I admit, I'm a sucker for guys with thick lashes. Probably because mine are not. But either way, this little fellow was a heartbreaker in the making.
No, we didn't make it the entire way around the park together, we made it about a quarter of the way around, so we could loop back. I didn't want to take him too far away from Daddy... but the entire walk we took together, he giggled and babbled in babyspeak and seemed so thrilled with life in general that it picked up my mood. And my mood needed it. So, to Daddy and Child I met at the park today? Thank you. I needed you two today.
This is the third incident, and it happened on the second walk, but before I ran into Daddy and Heartbreaklingly Cute Child. I was walking around the park and I heard a lot of bird noise... so much that it almost drown out my headphones. So, I took off the headphones and looked around...
There is a small bridge at the park. When the water runs very high, there are two "ponds" in the park that are connected. But most of the time, there is no water under the little bridge. There is a tiny wall that runs up to part of the bridge, making it so even if you're on the shore below, you can't really see under the bridge all that well.
The noise turned out to be a Mama duck, bringing out... one, no, two, no...three... no, four... wait a moment...five...oh, there's six...seven... my goodness eight ducklings! Eight little brownish puffs of feathers and down. Six of them hopped over the wall with ease. The other two were having trouble. But, I have to hand it to them... they just kept walking along the wall trying different spots, until they came to an area where the wall was lower. Then, they kept trying until they were out of the wall.
Meanwhile, Mama duck had herded the other little ones to a bush by the bridge, and made them hide, while she went back to watch the progress of the other two. The little ones in the bushes barely peeped. Mama came to watch the last two, with a patient air about her, as she let them do it themselves. Finally, family was reunited and they all went down to the shore and into the water. The two who had trouble making it over the wall were also a bit reluctant to go into the water, but finally, they made it in. So, eight little balls of fluff and one very proud Mama duck swam around on the pond.
And of course, I didn't have my digital camera. Figures.
This was the second thing that happened today. Given the first thing that happened, I was a little shaky. But, I was determined to do some walking, so down to the park I went.
This guy comes over to me. He's probably in his mid to late 50's. And... well... he's creepy looking. Yeah, I know there is an old guy who has told me he watches me walk around the park, but with that guy, the feeling is that every morning he sits on his balcony and looks out over the park. I happen to be at the park most mornings, so I'm now part of the scenery. I get the feeling he's going to watch the park even if I'm not there, I just probably break up the routeen a bit. Oh, pond...ducks...goose....woman with red shirt.... pond... ducks.... goose....herron.... ducks...pond....goose.... ah, there's lady in red shirt again...wonder how many times she walks around? Wonder how many miles she walks? Ah...ducks!
Well, this guy I "met" today comes over to me and goes, "Wow, you've lost weight."
And I'm thinking who the fuck are you? But I sorta nod and go, "Yeah, I have."
He goes, "I've been watching you. You've been coming here for a long time.... you stopped for awhile in the winter, but you came back in the spring.... you live downstairs from (my landlady's name) don't you?"
I'm like... "Uh... yeah... me and my EXTREMELY VIOLENT husband live downstairs from Sue, that's true. Did I mention to you that my husband is extremely violent, and extremely possessive?"
He just was not listening to the part about my husband and proceeded to tell me what time I usually go walking, how many times I walk around the park, what I usually wear, and various other things about me that just make me way too uncomfortable.
So, I finally say, "I really have to get walking before my EXTREMELY VIOLENT, OVERLY POSSESIVE, and VERY JELOUS husband comes looking for me... WITH THE SHOT GUN..."
But, then he positions himself so in order to walk my usual route, I've got to walk right by him. Which weirded me out enough that I only walked two miles, then went home.
Yeah.... now I'm kinda scard about walking at the park, in particular in the morning. I've been going about 6:00 a.m., which was great for me, cause it gave me a chance to do 4-6 miles before Todd came home from work. Then the two of us could go to breakfast when he got home. But, I might have to start going at 7:00 instead, when the park workers come there. I don't think this moron would try anything when the park workers are there, because I'm on speaking terms with all three of them, and if he knows enough to know when I walk and how much I walk, he's had to have seen me talking to them.
I also plan on talking to the landlady and asking if she'd mind if I locked the front door to our building every night. She's usually asleep by eight. Todd can lock it on his way to work and she or I can unlock it when we wake up. I'm just totally creeped out by this guy. I'm seriously considering buying pepper spray.
Maybe I'm overreacting... but with the first guy who commented about my walking, I felt he was looking at me like, "Wow, if I were 20 years younger, I'd sure ask her out..." With this guy, he looks at me and I feel like a peanut butter sandwich in a famine. It's a very strange feeling for me, cause I'm quite used to being the fat, ugly, woman. The one the good looking girl brings along to the bar with her for protection. That's usually me. So, I've been lulled into this sense of security for years, that I don't have to worry about lecherious old perverts, cause I'm not very attractive.
Not that this guy is a box of cake himself, but I've found that even creepy old perverted men seem to think that they deserve beautiful, thin women. So, even around them I've felt safe. But this guy just weirds me out completely. Or, am I overreacting? I'm willing to look at the possibility that I'm overreacting, because of what happened earlier.
I wanted to go walking early this morning, but due to the heat, I didn't fall asleep until around 11:00 last night, and as a results, I woke up later. Todd, who didn't work last night, because his alergies were acting up so badly he could barely see, woke up at seven, so we went to breakfast. Then, when we got home I had no motivation. So, I didn't get ready to go walking until it was close to 10:00. No big deal, I just figured I'd do my usual 5- 6 miles, then later do 2-3 and get my eight in for the day.
I leave the house... walk down the street, turn the corner onto the parking lot of the furniture store. As I'm walking across the parking lot, I suddenly see a young man, probably in his early to mid 20's, go staggering across the parking lot.
My first thought was that he'd been shot.
Blood was running down his face. Splattered all over his pants and hat. All over his shirt. On the sidewalk near the store, was an enormous puddle of blood. There were bags of food on the ground, all spilling over.
This guy as I said, was in his early to mid 20's. Cute, short hair, fairly good build on him. He was the type of guy you expect to see walking down the street with some cute woman, looking cocky and confident, like he's young, he's good looking, and has the world by the tail.
Instead, he's staggering around, crying and going, "I didn't do nothing... I didn't do nothing..."
I can't even begin to tell you how he sounded. Well, I'll try... he sounded like a child. A scard, bleeding, frightened child. No one who heard that voice could mistake the heartbreak in it. The fear, the confusion.
And there's a woman going, "No, John, no, you didn't do anything... you just had a seizure."
So, John is now headed in my direction. I stop and go, "John, please, calm down." I don't move.
John staggers towards me, crying, blood running all down his face and looks at me, blood all over his hands and goes, "I didn't do anything... I swear to god, I didn't do anything!"
I look at him and say, "Of course you didn't. You're hurt!" I start to move towards him.
He staggers off behind the delivery truck for the furniture store, which is in the parking lot.
I yell at the woman, "Do you need to call an ambulance?"
Another woman yells, "I already called, they're on their way."
The woman who was with this guy, a woman about my age, who's name is Michelle, tries to lure John out from the back of the truck. She doesn't have much luck, so I go around the other side. Other people have gathered around now, most of them watching and gawking.
And the whole time, John is staggering and crying, "I didn't do nothing, I didn't do nothing!"
Michelle keeps saying, "of course you didn't, John. You just had a seizure."
I move towards John very very slowly, the idea being that since I'm a stranger, he'll move towards Michelle, who he knows. The plan works and he moves over to Michelle, who leads him towards the end of the parking lot. Where we try to get him to sit down. He won't sit down. He just keeps crying like a lost child. "I didn't do nothing, I didn't do nothing!"
Michelle is crying by now, telling us bit by bit that she knows John from Providence. She ran into him last night and he told her he had no place to stay last night. I don't know if John's homelessness was simply a one night thing, or perminant. I have a feeling he might have come to Woonsocket for some reason, then missed the last bus back to Providence. But, either way, Michelle told him he could spend the night on her couch.
They woke up today, and I guess John offered to help her buy some food and carry it home and in return she would make breakfast for both of them, then John would go on his merry way.
On the way to the store, John started shaking. Michelle asked if he was okay and he kept saying he was going to be fine. Then, in the store he started shaking more. She asked if he needed something like some juice. He said he'd be fine once they got back to her place and he got some food or something like that. Then, on the way home, he started really shaking, had a full blown seizure, and fell to the ground. His sunglasses broke, which I think caused part of the gash on his face. I think the lense cut him, cause there was a huge gash, not just "road rash" you'd expect from a fall.
Michelle said that he did tell her he'd had seizures "all his life" which tells me that this is probably a condition he was born with, epilepsy, or something. Not due to drugs or drinking. I'd also venture to guess that John should probably be on some type of medication, but probably isn't, due to his financial situation. A young man who need to cage sleeping spaces from people he barely knows is not a young man with a job that has a medical plan. And, being a young man, he's not likely to qualify for any assistance.
The ambulance finally came and I guess John has delt with paramedics in his life, because they asked him very nicely to sit down and he did instantly, like he knew he shouldn't argue with them. They mopped up some of the blood, and got him on one of those boards with a neck brace around him.
Michelle did not want to go to the hospital. Something tells me Michelle might have a few problems of her own.
One of the women who was in the crowd offered to help Michelle get home. If she hadn't, I would have gone and gotten our car. I helped get Michelle's groceries in the car. Earlier, I had grabbed her purse and handed it to her, cause I don't trust this city.
Another woman, who runs a medical office across from the furnature store, offered to call the hospital to find out how John was doing and told Michelle she could call her in the next couple days.
The woman who was giving Michelle a ride home looks at me and goes, "You must be going for your walk."
Which of course made me wonder if everyone in this whole damned city knows I go walking. I mean, we've got a few hundred people in this city at least with no cars, who walk everywhere... so why does it seem that I am known as "the woman who goes out walking all the time"? Was my picture in the paper or something?
But, show is over right? John is safely on his way to the hospital. Michelle is on her way home, badly shaken, but probably all right. I can continue my walk.
Well, I do go for my walk. And meet up with Creepy Man. And go home. I tell Todd what happened. He says I should have come and gotten him. I tell him there really wasn't time for that.
I think it's all over, it's all done. I mean, we joke about what is it with this city and people having siezure, because it was 18 days ago, that I was there for Amy's siezure in the park. But, I figure it's just another thing that happened and it's over.
But, you know what... I still hear that kid.
I still hear that child-like, scard, pathetically sad little voice crying "I didn't do nothing! I didn't do nothing!"
And all I can think of is Who fucked with you, John? Who yelled at you when you were a kid and drilled it into your head that these seizure were your fault? Who made you so ashamed of something you can't control, that you're that upset that even when blood is pouring out of your head, all you can do is try to run off like a wounded animal and blame yourself? Who did this to you and can I find them and beat the everlovin' shit out of them?
What is it with the goddamned human race? In less than a month, I've seen two human beings suffer from something. Something medical. Yes, with Amy, it might have been caused by substance abuse, but still, a seizure isn't something anyone wants to have happen. And with John, unless he lied to Michelle, it sounds like he's had this since he was a child, so it probably isn't substance abuse, at least not any that he caused to himself. Maybe his mother took something when she was pregant she shouldn't have, but little kids don't have siezure because they take illegal drugs.
In both situations, I saw the world at it's best and worst. In the case of Amy, I saw total strangers rush together to help this woman, who none of us knew. Someone ran and got the police. I helped the guys in the tennis courts connect to 911 so the ambulance would come.
And I watched the cops treat the woman like shit.
Today, I saw the paramedics show remarkable gentleness to a poor guy who was scard and disorientated. I saw again, total strangers band together to make sure this young man got help and that the woman he was with originally got home safely.
Yet, I saw a young man who was terrifed that he had a siezure. Not that he was hurt. I would have understood if he'd been going, "I'm bleeding! What the hell happend!" But the fact that he was bleeding didn't seem to be what was bothering him at all. What was bothering him was that he "didn't do nothing."
I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have somehow been able to reach out to this...young man, who let's face it, still is a child in a lot of ways, and convinced him that no, he hadn't done anything wrong, and deserved to be helped. I wish I could have had the right words. But I just couldn't find them. All I could do was agree with Michelle. "No, John, you didn't do anything wrong... you just had a siezure...You're bleeding, you need help!"
I hope he's all right. I hope the hospital can help him, but I'm skeptical. I've seen Amy a couple times since her seizure. I saw her this morning, as a matter of fact... sleeping in the park. I know there is only so much hospitals can do.
I hope John has someplace to go...someplace where someone cares about him. Someone who will come and pick him up.
And not the someone who's got him to the point where he has a seizure and instead of worrying about himself bleeding all over the place, can only stagger around crying, "I didn't do nothing!" like a frightened child.
I wish I could get his voice out of my head.
No... that's wrong. I wish he never said that. Cause that voice is going to follow me down and haunt me. "I didn't do nothing!"