24 August 2012

and the world falls in on us ...

My bank account was emptied a few days ago ... unbeknownst to me.  Ugh.  That one stung.  I called the bank and turns out it was official.  There was a court order.  A bad (non)decision by yours truly caught up with me.  Then on a separate, unrelated matter the next day, I received a notice from the IR(flipping!)S regarding the extension I filed last year.  They're not happy with me either.  Double ugh.  Don't mess with the tax man, man.

and the world falls in on us ... if we let it.

I'm okay with it all, though; I'm a fairly nonplussed fellow.  I've emptied my pockets three times in my life rolling the dice, betting on business success (two of which still have good chances of success -- come on 7! Daddy needs a new pair of John Lobbs!).  And, I've had three major setbacks in my life from poor personal choices.  I am now owning up to them all -- swallowing the bitter pill of procrastination's reward.  Well, there's still one more to deal with, but it's on my list of things to address before year's end.  As they say, what doesn't kill us, blah-blah-blah.  Just makin' lemonade, baby.

After leaving my local bank branch today (where all of my pennies are now stored), I drove across the parking lot to buy a vanilla latte at The Coffee Bean, as is my wont .  As I looked for a spot to park, I spied momentarily an elderly woman who looked like my mom walking happily, carrying a plastic grocery bag half-filled with Ensure.  I watched as this poor soul tripped over something, perhaps a curb.  She fell hard to her left knee, bag spilling open.  She stretched out two hands attempting to catch her fall. Not quick enough; she struck the asphalt face-first, collapsing in a rather busy part of the parking lot.

and the world falls in on us ... bit by bit.

I parked immediately in the fire zone and ran over to her.  Oh, it was too sad for words, Dear Reader.  The shocked look on her face. The pain from the laceration on her forehead, dental injury and split lip.  I did the things you're supposed to do.  I asked her name. (Irene.) I asked Irene to remain still.  I asked her age. (70.)   Did she have any history of illness that we should know about? (Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and hypertension.) I folded my jacket and placed it under her head and placed my large bald head between her and the sun, attempting to keep her comfortable in FatScribe shade (it was nearly 100 degrees).  I kept her head still with my hands as we waited for paramedics to arrive.

Thankfully, within 5 minutes or so an off-duty fireman stopped to lead the charge.  Several others also helped.  One cat, the newly appointed "parking lot traffic cop" in his just-finished-golfing-attire at first walked up and said as loudly as his drunken luncheon breath could permit while looking down at me:  "What happened? Did anyone see what happened?!"  My first impulse was to tell WC Fields here to take it down a notch and to please take himself and his red bulbous nose back to his watering hole.  Instead, I said nothing, and he got the hint and walked back trying to help, directing Bentley's and Porsches around us.

Some others brought water and cloth napkins to help us clean her up a bit to make sure there weren't other injuries under all of the blood.  She began to get very week and could hardly speak.  I was afraid she was going to have a heart attack as her breathing became labored.  I found myself saying the same sorts of things I told my mother the days before she passed.  "You're doing great, (Irene)."  "We're here for you."  "Try to relax your breathing as best you can."  "The (paramedics) will be here in just a second."  "Where else does it hurt?"

When my mom passed after a difficult week in the ICU, our world fell in on my brothers and me as one would expect, but just for a bit.  We miss her everyday, but because she loved the hell out of us, we all still feel her in our lives and the lives of our children.  The words I attempted to console Irene with this morning echoed in memories bank, pangs of sadness for my mom as I looked after Irene.

The paramedics finally arrived.  One senior firefighter (55 or so) took my place.  I held an IV bag and continued to provide shade, now with a steak and seafood menu provided by my friend's restaurant.  Neck brace and inflatable leg splint were applied.  Irene transferred onto the backboard.  I overheard that her vitals were 108 over 80 (I believe).  A paramedic took the IV and they placed her on the gurney, moving her into the awaiting ambulance.  The Good Samaritan's Armani jacket that was Irene's pillow, now spattered with blood and battered by asphalt detritus was tossed summarily into the back his MKX.  After 15 years in the rotation, it needed to be retired anyway.

Back taxes and trips over curbs.  The world falls in on us ... because, well, it's an imperfect world where we all live and suffer at the hands of fools and sometimes ourselves (and sometimes the two are the same).  But we live in a world where there is grace.  We trip and fall and others help us.  We make mistakes and say the wrong thing at the wrong time and sometimes we offend ... and we apologize to those whose world we helped fall in a little.  Bit by bit, chipped tooth by split lip.  Emptied bank account by court decision.  Our world is not perfect ... but it's still pretty darn close.

Don't hold it all in, Dear Reader, the offenses and the set-backs.  Let them go.  Don't feel too guilty after you've done your best to ameliorate the (very few, i'm sure) times where you've screwed up. Forgive others, but absolutely don't forget to forgive yourself.

and the world falls in on us ... and we fight on, because, what other choice do we have?


preppyplayer said...

Not to be too Catholic, ( although I am) when my CCD students used to have a hard time with understanding the holy trinity, especially the holy spirit-

I would tell them that whenever they did good deeds that they did not benefit from, no pats on the back, no service hours for college resume, etc,

THAT whenever they did a good deed where they felt good inside, almost a physical feeling?
That was when they were filled with the holy spirit.

So even though you helped Irene, I have a feeling Irene helped you.
Things are looking up for you!

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Exactly, Ms. Prepster. and, i enjoy hearing/learning about your faith and how your worldview is shaped. your faith informs the type of person you are and aspire to be!

thanks again for visiting and keeping in touch!


The Diggster said...

Great article, from a great writer-you! I have to try once again to remember to check your blog more often.

Julia Christie said...

How I have missed your writing and this piece was written ( I swear to you JG :-) for me!

Such a great message and a reminder I needed, we all need occasionally as we look as some of the cocked up (forgive my language but speaking unfiltered here) decisions we make and the detritus that is the result of said choices and try, TRY, to let ourselves off the hook and move on.

Can be a challenge.

What a gentleman and hero you were for dear Irene. On a day when you might have been really down in the dumps, having this happen must have reminded you of what IT is in fact all about.

Hugs to you and good luck - that 7 is coming your way ~ I feel it!

Smiles too of course

Caleb S. Garcia said...

Very heavy and interesting and heart felt. You are a kind person. Sorry about all the IRS stuff, that sucks. Here's to better things ahead.

Shelley said...

Hello, JG! Long time, no read! Great to see you're back. I know all about procrastination. I finally got right with one set of rules this summer, but waited for my submission to bring the attention of the account vacuumers to bear. I scared myself sick assuming the worst. You can't live with that level of fear for long... I've put it aside until the world does actually fall in. It can't be much worse than the worry it might.

How nice for Irene that you were there to help. Nice to have you back in the blogosphere.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

I'm letting out a big, "sigh". I have really missed your writing. I didn't expect when I started reading that by the end I'd be wiping away tears. Yet another confirmation why I admire you so, not only because you are a great writer, but because you have such compassion, appreciation, whit, love and positiveness. If you were here..I'd say come join us for a stiff whisky, and a laugh, because at times, that is life's greatest healer. Ye shall rise again Jg, but you already are so rich (with what counts) and I know you'd agree. Another big sigh!

P.S. a big thanks for the comment today. Always so terrific to hear from you.

Ella said...

I went back on my blog and found you!
I accidentally found you a long time ago and wondered how you were doing!
Whoa...you have an amazing spirit!
What a blessing you must of been to this poor woman~ This is a touching post...I hope you will shake your tail feather and rise again!

Divine Theatre said...

Now I am back but you have disappeared. Sun. Shadow. Clouds.

Come back soon!


Divine Theatre said...

If I had read your post first I may not have left that response. I was just so excited to see you.
My life is filled with fixing things I have broken. If I cannot fix them I attempt to artfully rearrange.
Have you read the biography of Daniel Boone? I may still have my copy. He paid his debts right before he died. I think about that a lot.