Down By The River

You fell on the carpet.
I fell in the gutter.
We both fucking well fell down.
Last night’s Chair

Today I was having lunch with my friend D when a man came up and asked D to tie his shoelaces for him.  D said, why can’t you do it yourself?  The man said, I haven’t got the strength.  He showed us where he had tried to cut his throat.  Over a woman, he said, would you believe that?  He was soon escorted from the premises.  We watched from the window as he threw himself at the cars waiting at the traffic lights.  As he fell down and was helped up by a small group of people.  As he said something so offensive to a woman that she pushed him- not hard- and he fell down by the side of the river. I think he was unconscious.  People were standing by, and nobody called an ambulance or the police.  I toyed with the idea of calling.  In the end we both decided not to.  I was reluctant to use 999, and we were both reluctant to get too involved.  There were people around the man who we thought would help, but they just stood and stared.  One man was on his phone, and we thought he might be calling an ambulance but none arrived.  The waiter said that the man had called him some appalling names.  I feel guilty for not having called somebody.  It seems strange that a person can fall down so hard, shout so publicly, slide so low, and nobody would want to notice.  Strange, and then not so strange at all.


8 thoughts on “Down By The River

    • That’s right, the bystander effect! Couldn’t think of the phrase, was going to call my post it if i had remembered! Yeah, I’m not beating myself up for not getting involved, but also not proud of it. I’d kind of like to know what happened, and if anyone did help him out. Next time (there always is one, right?) I will remember this time and let it inform my decision.

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