Friday, February 10, 2023

Accept the fluster of lost door keys

Things I found wrote in my phone notes this week:

“Much will be gained if we succeed in transforming your hysterical misery into common unhappiness.” - Freud

Party invite idea — "Should we break some bread? Are y'interested?"

The way the Property Brothers karate chop the tops of throw pillows continues to haunt me.

A thing that actually haunts me:

When Isaac and Edna were here last month, the three of us were driving on the shortcut road behind Trader Joe's when we saw a man step off a curb, fall flat on his face, and just lie there for several long seconds. I pulled over, and we all jumped out of the car. He insisted he was fine and got up on all fours while fat, dark drops of blood dripped from his nose. Isaac and Edna kept handing him tissues from a box in the car, which he held to his nostrils until we noticed he had a jagged little cut between his eyebrows and told him to press the tissues there. 

We offered to take him somewhere, buy bandaids at the Walgreens, call someone. He said, "No, no, I just need to figure out how to stand up," and somehow I kind of hauled him up from the ground — or, he leaned all of his weight on me and hauled himself up? I encouraged him to: "I'm stronger than I look," I told this massive man. (I wondered if it was true as I said it, and I guess so, because he got to his feet with his hands on my shoulders as I pretended to be something wide and solid). He thanked us, but continued to say he was fine, that he lived nearby, and then he walked away. 

I think it haunts me because I'm constantly questioning the best way to help (I often defer to pretending not to see in an attempt to protect a person's dignity*) and second-guessing whether my help was actually helpful. Also, I wasn't clear what this man's situation was: he seemed sober, wore warmish clothes, Carhartt-ish, had a sturdy backpack. He was maybe in his sixties? Was he down on his luck, or a man who happened to be walking through a down-on-their-luck area of town? It doesn't really matter, except: did he have bandaids at home, or money to buy them...or a home? And why don't I have a first aid kit in my car?

*See: the time I pretended I didn't see a middle-aged man's pants fall down and expose his bare butt as he juggled to-go coffee cups and a bag of pastries. I am positive that guy didn't want my help.

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