For the first time in my life, and hopefully the last, I called 911. It happened today, though it almost didn’t happen. The injured party of two, which did not include me or anyone I know, degenerated into a noisy confusion of bickering and dithering about if I should actually make the call.
No, don’t call, I’m fine! Jesus!
Annoyed, I rolled my eyes and dialed.
I was outside the library when I heard a crash then piercing screams and old-man groans — drama and panic before a fine civic institution. A splendid fall day.
What happened was this: A woman is pushing an elderly man in one of those mini-wheelchairs, officially called transport chairs, when the conveyance hits a large uneven crack in the concrete, spins around and flips over.
The man, who’s attached to an oxygen tank, falls backward in the chair, landing on his back and bonking his head on the ground. There he is, stuck on his back, knees airborne, moaning. His elbows appear to have gotten the worst of it, and they are scraped and bloody.
Screaming and swearing, the woman, doughy and Weeble-shaped, tries to help him up, loses her balance, and falls on top of him, squishing the poor guy.
Get off me!
Goddmmit! Oh! Ack! Help!
The woman, brassy and braying, tries to get up and falls on her ass on the concrete. She is screaming and cussing. I try to help her up but she’s having none of it.
Oh! My knee! Aaaah!
Yadda yadda yadda.
She’s fine, a marvelous drama queen.
By now she’s really getting on my nerves, cussing and yelling at her supine companion whose head almost cracked open like a melon.
He, on the other hand, is calm and good-natured, with a crinkly sense of humor, even though he’s on his back on the concrete, knees in the air, tubes up his nostrils. He sort of looks like Hyman Roth in “The Godfather II” or Grandpa from “The Munsters,” except with a constellation of age spots across his olden face.
He asks me to place my foot under his head as a cushion and I do. It’s a ridiculous scene. She repeatedly swears she will sue the city. She takes a picture of the guy on his back. Don’t take a picture! he yells.
So I call 911 and the dispatcher keeps me on the line, asking a zillion questions about what’s happening, if the old man is on blood thinners (he is) and other questions I have no answers to. I can barely hear because the woman is screaming and swearing the whole time.
Can you call 911 for human obnoxiousness?
The aggrieved twosome looks — and acts — like a married couple, though she seems to be in her late 50s and he in his late 70s, early 80s. Daughter and father is more likely. Either way: a nightmare.
The EMS arrives apace, sirens wailing, lights twirling. Taking a final gander at the squabbling duo and circling medics, I saunter off, irritated, into the library. The guy is still on his back. She’s still squawking.
I check out “Apocalypse Now.”