Friday, July 24, 2009

the names are changed to protect the innocent

talk about a sunday drive. i'm sitting in the back seat of tris' bright yellow submarine (i mean suv) with two dogs, paige and tris in the front seat. riding north on nicollet avenue, trying to keep dingo the dog from chewing off my ear when paige shouts, "hey! what the hell!" tris and i both look toward where she is pointing, and see a car parked facing south at a meter. no big deal. but then we notice a middle aged white woman with short, ginger colored hair lying on the street next to the car. as tris makes a u-turn, the woman grasps the driver's side handle with one hand and then the other as if she were pulling herself up a rope. we park behind the car parked behind her car, but we needn't have, since the guy in the car parked behind her car pulled out and away giving an exaggerated wide birth to the fallen woman and her car. was the woman sick? was she having a seizure? it was five in the afternoon, and paige had to pee thanks to the two bottles of water she had consumed at the dog park. did she let that stop her? not yet. not being a big fan of conflict, i sat in the back seat while paige and tris got out to see if the woman was alright. the windows were closed, so i heard nothing and watched a lot of arm waving and gesturing. to my right, there was a lone twenty something brown haired girl sitting outside of a chinese restaurant sitting in a chair and reading a book. no table, no food, just a chair and a book. then it got kind of hot in the car, and plus things were beginning to look interesting, so i decided to join the conversation and i got out. ". . . fucking bitch! i'm fine! leave me alone!", were the first words i heard upon hitting the sidewalk. no, not paige, the sick woman. i mean the REALLY REALLY drunk woman. tris and paige were trying to tell her that she certainly should not drive and she was not having it. then paige kindly informed the woman that if she got behind the wheel, the cops would have to get involved. the woman then angrily stated that she was WALKING HOME! and lurched spasmatically up the street to the corner where she tried to open the door of a bar. which was locked. leaving her car with the door open and the keys in the ignition. so the three of us waited paitently while she lurched back, now trying a less angry tactic, saying, "ssserrioussly, i'mmm fine. i jussst want toooo go home. i can drrrrrivvvvve." uhm, no. you can't. we asked if we could call a taxi, but she seemed to have no money, so i was elected to drive her car to her house, with her in the passenger seat, paige and tris and the dogs following behind. paige now has to pee even worse, but she agrees. gotta give her credit. i slide into the driver's seat of the light blue 1993 chrysler, and turn the key. nothing happens. "ohhhh, yeahhhh, it only starts in neutral," i hear from my passenger. she was right, it started in neutral. on the drive, i inquire about the woman's day. turns out she has had a bad weekend, she says, big break-up. she spent the day at the lake. lake harriet. i didn't know the lake had an alcohol content, but i let it go. now it's all sweetness and light. "thhhank you gggirrrls ssssoo much, i love you girls. thhhank yyyoooouu for all you havvvve ever done fffffor me." instinctively, i want to pat her knee and say everything is fine, don't worry, but then i change my mind and just say everything is fine, don't worry. i left out the knee thing. upon arriving at her apartment complex, the woman directs me to her parking space three different times, until we find the right one. i say goodbye and run to the yellow suv, where i see a clear plastic bag filled with dog poop hanging off of the windshield wiper on the back window, slurred thank-yous ringing in my ears. i grab the poop, toss it in the trash, and get into tris' car. we speed off, toward a bathroom, and all is well. but is it? if paige had not seen the woman lying in the street, what would have happened to her? the man parked behind her didn't care, the girl in the chair outside of the chinese restaurant didn't care, and the many people walking and driving by didn't care. what is that about? how has it become that we can see a woman lying in the street, and just drive, walk, rollerblade, (or read) by? a sunday drive shouldn't just always be a drive. we need to look out for each other, even if we have to pee.
p.s. i don't even know anyone named paige or tris, i just made those names up.