This morning I did my two mile walk
with Jaimito in his jogger stroller. He usually sings to me, babbling
and carrying on with a musical tune. He likes music. He’s always
dancing and singing. The Wiggles, an Australian kids troupe, on the
Disney channel are his favorite characters. or the "-ggles"
as he says. Today, though he didn’t sing, just happily sucked his
bottle of juice, pulling it from his mouth to point out sights of
interest along the way. We saw trees, palm trees, a cement truck and
an airplane. Jaimito loves airplanes, or "a-bi" as he says.
I think it’s a cross between airplane and aviÃ³n, in spanish.
"A-bo, a-bo," he says turning his head up to me, pointing
to a tree. I assume "a-bo" is arbol or "tree" in
spanish. Wow, kids sure are good on the economy of language. Such
clever creatures. Yeah, Daddy, why do you have all these distinct
words. All I need to do is make a sound and point. See? Easy as pie.
Jaimito and I got back from our little
walk, and had some breakfast. He loves fruit Kixs cereal. I don’t
complain, because he can’t make a mess with it, and after all, it is
"Kid tested, Mother approved." He loves to share with me,
digging into the little cup of cereal with his dexterous deditos and
feeding me the purple ones. Why purple? I have asked him the same
question myself – perhaps when he can talk, he will reveal to me his
Yogurt is his other favorite. Cereal
and yogurt… ah, the stuff of which dreams are made, ahh, but,
Daddy, I need some of your cereal too, or actually just the milk.
Daddy likes to eat Honey Bunches of
Oats, with chocolate chips sprinkled on top. I’m bad, I know, but
little Mr. So-and-so likes to mooch the milk from me. He makes his
dramatic "mmmmmmp" sounds and smiles at me after each
successful raid into my zone, pushing his pushy wiggle-puss into my
bowl. I call him my "Moochie" or "Cachetero"
(cheeky-one) on account of his bulging cheeks.
This has become our morning ritual.
After coffee, I checked my email,
morning geek news (slashdot.org),
world news (www.msnbc.com), and
settled into work on Altabox 4.0.
This afternoon, we had a lunch date
with a local state senator to build a strategy to communicate our
vision for the tech sector with what will be, most assuredly the next
governor of Puerto Rico. The rest of the morning was uneventful, and
we headed out for our lunch.
I usually drive, because although Laura
is a good and competent driver, she’s got a lead foot. The new and
improved phlegmatic Jim, has become a passive slowpoke, as it is the
only way I can feel sane. Thanks Dad. I was pulling out of our
sub-division when the car in front of me just stopped. A woman got
out and ran across the street. Huh? I honked, what the hell is she
doing? And just as I honked, I saw a crumpled shape lying in a ditch
on the other side of the street. I pulled to the side, and leaped
from the car to screams and clamor.
Apparently there was a slight accident,
two cars had hit each other, but caught up in it was an old woman, a
pedestrian who was walking along the side of the road. As the two
idiots drivers fought and fretted about their situation, the poor
woman lay bleeding in a drainage ditch, water flowing freely around
I raced over to her, fixated on this
poor figure laying in the blood. Is she dead? I didn’t see the
accident, so I didn’t know how severe it was. It wasn’t clear exactly
what had happened. Did she fall? Was she hit? I reached her limp
form, and checked immediately to see if she was alive, breathing. I
felt awkward. This stuff only happens in the movies, doesn’t it? I
was shaking, the adrenaline had kicked in. I couldn’t help it. I was
mentally calm and in control, but my body had other ideas as it
decided to go into crisis mode. The people standing around me are all
offered "helpful" suggestions. Don’t move her, was pretty
much all they could say, I guess they were content to just stand
there and gawk while this bleeding woman lay in a ditch.
I touched her shoulder and gave her
upper torso a little tug. First thing you do in a crisis is talk to
the patient. Find out if they are okay, if they can tell you where it
hurts or where they are hurt. First aid is trained frequently in the
Army, repetitively, so that in the moment you don’t have to think.
Say there’s an explosion, your buddy
goes down, and you immediately start first aid, checking limbs,
tearing open clothes, thinking about tourniquets. "Hey dumbass,
I’m fine. Just stunned, check out the rest of the guys." If the
patient can talk, they can help you out. Basic stuff, but you’d be
amazed how often people forget.
So this woman, was stunned, a little
groggy. I recognized her from the first. She’s who, growing up in N.
Country, St. Louis, we all knew as the "Walking Lady," a
woman seen at all hours of the day, in all seasons walking around,
going shopping, running all her errands on foot. Here, lying in a
drainage ditch was our very own, "Walking Lady," Paquita as
she is called. Laura and I wondered if she was homeless, her
weathered and somewhat tattered appearance fit the bill. She lives in
our neighborhood, however. I see her most mornings as I head out on
my morning bike rides. We usually exchange smiles.
I checked her head. Looks okay, she’s
got a cut across her eyebrow. That’s where ALL the blood was coming
from. Yeah, I remember those injuries all too well. Cut above the eye
bleeds like crazy. You look like Carrie. I check around her head,
talking to her. "Does it hurt any where else?" She’s still
groggy, I can’t hear her. "You know me," I say to her,
"It’s me, from the bicycle. We meet each other every morning
when I go out on my bicycle."
She smiled. I smiled back, and imagined
myself, this huge gringo covered in blood crouched in a ditch holding
this ninety pound little old lady, stroking her head.
I enlisted the aid of a by-stander to
move her from the ditch into the shade. I was amazed at how hard it
was to lift her small frame out of the ditch. I stumbled and stepped
on her hand. I felt terrible about that. Poor thing. A limp weight is
hard to lift. Jeez. A worker from the Energy Authority, trained in
first aid arrived at the scene. He had his complete first aid kit,
oxygen, bandages, blood pressure device, etc. He went to work, while
I told her jokes and held her hand. I made her smile as her blood
pressure and pulse came back normal. "Ah, as healthy as a twenty
year old," I said.
It was super hot in the noon day,
equatorial sun. I was dressed for a business lunch, and not only was
I drenched in blood, I was pouring sweat like a thoroughbred. A man
began to fan me with a piece of cardboard he found on the road. Ah,
that felt good.
The ambulance arrived finally, and I
got out of the way. They rolled her onto the stretcher and hoisted
her up. I stayed with her to see her off. "Paquita, may you get
better soon. We’ll see each other next week, you walking, me on my
bicycle." She smiled and we parted ways.
In the end, I didn’t do anything
really. I would have been more prepared to do CPR or mouth to mouth,
but I felt good for having reacted so quickly and taking charge while
everybody else fretted and stood idle, especially the two idiots in
the cars that caused the accident in the first place. Like I said,
though, I didn’t really do anything, but today, the 25th of November
2003, I eased someone’s pain and made a new friend.