It never ceases to amaze me just exactly what people put each other through. I look around and see all these folks eating at each other and tearing each other down and more often than not, the worst perps are the ones who claim to love each other the most. I’ve always maintained that if your family cannot drive you insane, you cannot be driven insane. Here’s my case in point about the painfulness of love.
I went to eat with Mama today at the Waffle House. After I had my waffle, hashbrowns, and Diet Coke, I headed back to the house. It was 9:30ish. I pulled into the neighborhood and was greeted by an interesting parade. A woman, looking around mid twenties, was booking it at a power walk pace up towards the main road. She had a small girl-child on her right hip and was clutching the hand of a slightly older girl-child in her left hand. This wee one had to jog to keep up with the woman’s frantic pace. To make the image even more surreal, a small dog — possibly a chihuahua or a Jack Russell — was cavorting madly around the two walkers’ feet, yapping its head off the whole time. The woman had what I can only describe as a maniacal look on her face. She was all wild-eyed and her hair was a disheveled mop atop her head. We made eye contact briefly and she looked possessed by some hidden insanity.
Twenty five yards or so back of her was a swarthy complected guy with a buzz cut, muscle shirt, and tattoos on his right bicep and right and left forearms. He had two clear plastic bags full of stuff thrown over his left shoulder and was obviously trying to catch the diminutive Amazonian who had just gotten to the entrance of the subdivision. His pace was steadier and slower than hers and he seemed to be patiently following.
I went by, pulled into my driveway, sat there for about fifteen seconds, then backed out to go see what I could do to help the situation. To anyone out there who may be contemplating a similar move, may I respectfully request that you refrain from doing so. I am a professional nutcase and have absolutely no idea what I am doing in cases like these, but I am driven by some inner Saint Bernard spirit to help — even against my better judgment. Just remember that of all the dangerous situations law enforcement officers find themselves in, the one they fear the most is a domestic disturbance call. Anything can happen.
So I pull back through the neighborhood and take a left. The woman is still nearly running on up ahead and the guy is still patiently plodding along after her. I pull up alongside him, roll down the window and ask “Dude, you need some help with something?” He turns and smiles wearily and says, “No thanks.” I jerk my head towards the woman and say, “Y’all in a fight or something?” He nods and I nod and drive on up the road. He doesn’t need my help. Things are well in hand. I pass the woman, who is now trying to flag down ANY passing vehicle, and pull through the local Stop and Steal to make a u-turn and head back to the house.
Up ahead, the woman has stopped a green Toyota Corolla and hurled both children AND Spike into the car. Now, both of those girls should have been in car seats, but I sensed that was the least of the issue at the moment. I could see the woman inside gesticulating wildly at the driver who stepped on the gas. The guy then stepped in front of the car. Luckily, she screeched to a halt in front of him and went to turn around him. He shifted to stay in front of the vehicle. At this point, the Tony Stewart wannabe driving the car throws it into reverse and comes barrelling back towards ME. I perform some sort of vehicular ballet to avoid being made road pizza as the Corolla executes a J-turn that would make a highway patrolman proud and zooms away.
I look over at the guy who has walked into the driveway of a shutdown business and dropped his physical burden. From the look on his face, though, what he’s carrying inside is much heavier than what he’s got in those two sacks. I pull over and roll the window down again and call out, “NOW do you need some help?!” He gives me a weary smile and brings the bags over. I give him a quick lesson in how to open the passenger door of a Honda Element and he’s inside and we’re all good, considering.
“So, ” I start, “where can I take you to regroup?” He smiles again and asks me if I can take him to the end of this particular road. Well, I’m not taking medicine and I don’t have a watch to stand, so I pull out and head towards where he points. I don’t say anything so he starts. Here’s the gist of the story. He’s 27 from Puerto Rico via New Jersey (talk about a stranger in a strange land), out of work, and as he puts it, “having a really bad Wednesday.” Wild woman is 25 and is his children’s mother. The girl she was carrying was released from the hospital on Monday after a bout of pneumonia that nearly killed her. She still has a PIC line in her chest and as my passenger put it she’s “supposed to be on the way to the doctor right NOW for a followup”
One of the bags contained several dozen packages that I recognized as nebulizer packets for breathing treatments. The other sack held the machine, wrapped in a quilt. Anyway, the mother is supposed to be taking medicine for her “head” because she “goes a little loco sometimes,” but she’s “stubborn and won’t take it like she’s supposed to so she gets like this.” She had gotten into an altercation with her grandmother, whom the couple was staying with, that ended with her shoving the grandmother down, throwing a chair throught the sliding glass door, and storming out with the children. He said, “I’m just trying to get to her because my daughter has to have one of these treatments every 90 minutes and she’s due for the next one right now.”
I just listened. I’ve seen this before and I know what happens when a person who’s supposed to be taking anti-psychotics or anti-depressants doesn’t follow the prescribed regieme. A bad situation actually gets worsened by what was supposed to improve it. I told him that, in my opinion, following her was useless at this point and what he needed to do was get somewhere safe with people he could rely on and form a plan. He agreed and twenty minutes and a life story later, I dropped him off at what he described as his aunt’s home. I asked him what he was going to do and he told me of his intention to call his sister to come pick him up and the two of them would go find the mother and the children (and Spike too, I hope).
As he left, I gave him a $20 bill and said, “Take this so you can buy your sister’s gas. It’ll keep her in a little better mood while y’all are hunting.” He took the money reluctantly and thanked me over and over again. I told him not to worry about it, just find his daughter and take care of her.
I told Budge about it and she reminded me I was going to get shot one day pulling stunts like that. I told her I knew but when that time came to remember that I didn’t want to be buried in a suit and I wanted to wear my favorite pair of lime green Crocs.
So that was my Wednesday morning. Maybe what I did was crazy, getting in the middle of a “domestic dispute.” Still, I figure we are all traveling together on this little blue marble in space. We have to help one another out if we’re gonna make it. So wash your feet, y’all, and be good to each other.
The exciting thing about life is that you just never know exactly what will happen when you reach out to a stranger. (On a more sobering note – you really do need to be a tiny bit more cautious… if not for you, then at least for the significant people in your life. I’m glad you weren’t hurt in your efforts to help.)
Mama had an ABSOLUTE dying duck fit when I finally told her about it 🙂
She swears I’m trying to give her a heart attack, lol.
I think you have a new career in counseling : )