This is not as well written as I’d like, but I get my point across. I probably won’t rewrite it and clean it up. I’m just bein’ lazy. So there. I’ll just call it a final first draft.
I was on my way home from Pei Wei with a take away order. Melissa and our neighbor Christine were waiting for me at home. It was around 5:45pm Sunday evening. I was driving up Lewis from 61st St. when I saw a car facing north on the west curb of the street at 56th St. light. It looks like a car accident happened. I hadn’t seen anybody pulling over yet, so I go past to turn around. As I drove back I saw people going over to the car. I pull into the parking lot. People had pulled out cell phones and called 911. I hoped that’s what they were doing.
I want to say the car was a newer model Pontiac sedan. The driver was an elderly lady. There were two younger women talking to her. Checking on her. One was on a cell phone. I wnet over to the car and the lady is just sitting there in the car. The left front wheel is broken off and I can see a something spinning. So the motor must have still been on. I got the lady to turn it off. I went around the car to the street side and introduced myself. I reached in and turned on the flashing lights. After going back around the car to the others I asked if someone had called 911. They had. A couple of people said they had witness the accident. They said the lady had driven through the light and was swerving all over the road. One had followed her up Lewis.
I kept thinking we ought to get the lady out of the car because it was facing oncoming traffic, and she was in the sun. The car was sitting on top of a street sign she’d run over on the curb. The door was sticking from the bent metal but I pulled it open. It didn’t require any extraordinary effort.
Finally after about five minutes the cops show up, and I’m not sure those were the ones dispatched because they were driving slow. So I waved them over. They flashed their lights on and pulled up. Cop got out came over. I said I didn’t see it happen. He ignored me and that was fine. The odd thing was the lady was fidgeting in the car. While we were waiting for help, she’d been rifling through her glove box. Getting her insurance verification?
One of the two younger ladies waiting said the woman thought her husband was driving the vehicle. I only spoke the driver a few times and she followed my instructions when I told her to turn off the engine, put it in park so she could get her keys. I told her my name so as not to startle her when I turned on the emergency lights.
I’m not saying I was trying to be the good Samaritan, I had hot food that I wanted to get home. If I’d been delayed because of the accident I would have called Melissa for her to come and get the food. But I wasn’t a witness. Fresh in my mind I’d seen stories in the news of people seeing an old man run over and no one rendered assistance and the story about the women collapsing and dying in a waiting room and no one rendering assistance. Hello people! You can never be too busy to help. Thankfully there had been people that had stopped as well. Once the police were there and the fire truck showed up, the situation was under control and I left.
I am totally dumbstruck when I hear or see stories about people not doing anything when others are in distress. The thing is this happens in nature too. I saw National Geographic’s Strange Days on Planet Earth. They showed what happened to a monkey population when the top predators were removed. An artificial lake in South America created a bunch of islands that created isolated populations of all sorts of animals. Scientists were studying this accidental experiment.
As more and more monkeys populated the island and stripped it’s resources, the monkeys social cohesion broke down. No longer would they look out for each other, nor help each other. It was almost every monkey for himself. I’ve also heard of studies about rat overpopulation that is very detrimental as well. So my question is are we starting to see a real or perceived overpopulation in humans that is causing a breakdown in social norms? Or is it that we are more isolated from each other because of our car culture and televisions? Does the Internet help break down those barriers or reinforce them? Or is it something else entirely different and people have always behaved this badly? I feel we are seeing something new and disturbing.