we had been out at north park mall for lack of anything better to do. we looked at the fountain and the ducks and the turtles. we tried on more jeans and cursed our disproportionate hips. we drank coffee. then we went on a surprise drive while oliver napped.
brian's surprise was to drive around window shopping some houses in the as-yet-undiscovered area near lemmon and inwood. we hadn't been looking long when we drove past an SUV that was parked in the oncoming lane of a small, residential neighborhood. i didn't know what he was talking about because all i could see was a man in his late 60s or 70s standing in front of the SUV on a cell phone. we turned around and drove back to see if they needed any help. as we pulled slowly ahead of the SUV, i saw a man who was maybe our age sitting on the curb with two plastic grocery bags settled haphazardly near him. he was holding one hand over his mouth and around the bottom of a nose which was already beginning to turn blue as it filled with blood. the rest of his face had turned red from blood which had managed to escape. his face didn't look quite... right. not anymore.
i could tell he was in shock. he was drifting about in that place where you know your life has just gotten a little fucked up. he hadn't yet allowed his brain to process whatever had happened. he wasn't ready for it. like when your knife accidentally slips off that yellow squash you're slicing or you shut your finger in that door and you stop for a couple of seconds wondering just how bad the damage is and trying to determine whether or not it hurts. that's where he was sitting.
i rolled the window down before we had rolled to a stop and screwed my eyebrows up in horror as i called out the window: "are you okay? do you need help?"
the old man paused his conversation with the cell phone, looked at me and barked: "WHAT DO YOU WANT?!"
this unsettled me immediately and reminded me of something so not quite right that it must have been fictitious, but i couldn't quite put my finger on it. i replied, looking more at the injured party this time: "do you need any help? are you okay?"
he slowly nodded through a haze with a glazed over expression as the old man continued: "i've already called the police and an ambulance."
we said okay, rolled up the window, and drove to the next stop sign to call 911 ourselves. we surmised that the old man had possibly struck the pedestrian with his megamobile and was now backpedaling trying to save his own ass. i felt all sick inside and just plain wrong leaving that man with someone so grumpy and possibly self-serving. 911 confirmed that a call had been issued for the area and we drove on. i was tremendously anxious and wanted to jump out of the car and run down the street to exercise the angst from my head and chest. i wanted to drive back and offer him a cloth diaper or the mysterious roll of toilet paper sitting in brian's back floor boards.
it was just all so odd and disturbing and i couldn't shake it for a couple of hours. i normally only see that kind of business on the make believe screen.