Thursday, April 24, 2008

We Fall in Four Language


The nicely dressed lady is lying on the ground by Greeley Square.  Between the serious men's clothing store and the Dunkin Donut  and there are a lot of people over her making sure her shopping bags and her purse are O.K. There is a cup of something by her and the security guy or police chief - or whatever he is - is talking into a walkie-talkie.

Me and two guys hang out on the curb by the flower pots and watch a skinny homeless guy shout at the crowd. He looks like the guy who kicked me in the ass when I bumped into him on a rainy day. Wouldn't be surprised if it were. This is his neighborhood.

The two guys said that she began to fall and the homeless guy caught her and was shouting GET HELP GET HELP and once non-homeless guys showed up and shooed him away he got upset. After all, he was there first and just because he was homeless didn't mean he was less of a hero.

The daily convoy of twenty-five blaring police cars roar up 6th Avenue. None stop.

"She fell. Her heart, her blood pressure or diabetic. They give her an orange juice with some sugar. Look, she is fine."

A third man joins us. His patter sounds like poems made of rain on a roof. When I ask if it is Arabic, his friend nods. "I speak Danish too. And Spanish and English and Arabic."

We look across the street at the woman again. Two ambulances come as she sits up and talks on her cell phone.

The guy says to me, "We are nothing. A heart, or something and we fall... we are nothing."

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