Well people, another weird thing happened to me the other day that once again undermines my faith in humanity. Below is what happened and a few observations...
After returning by air from a long family reunion weekend in California, my wife and I picked up our car from the park-and-ride we used and make the short drive home.
Just as we turned into our neighborhood off a main drag and onto a residential street - something we've done at this corner every day for eight years since moving there - we were immediately confronted with something we never had seen before.
What was it?
A guy laying on his side right in the middle of the road. By all accounts he looked dead. Seriously. No movement at all. Right in the middle of the street. Given the cars parked on each side of the road, his body blocked our way forward with no way to go around him.
Next to him parked on the curb to the right with its front end facing us was a truck with its passenger door wide open - giving reason to think that the guy had tumbled out of the passenger door and out onto the pavement where he lay.
My first reaction was that he was hurt. Shot. Heart attack. Seizure. Something.
I got out of our car and approached him. As I did I said "Are you OK?" "Do you need help?" No reaction. None.
I repeated my questions and clapped my hands. Nothing.
Just as I thought I'd have to go call 9-1-1 to get an ambulance out there, he mumbles that he's OK and starts to get up.
I repeated, "Are you OK?" This time, he said in a very obviously inebriated state that he was "fine."
So I said, "OK, then please get out of the road" and started walking back to our car.
Boom! Things changed quickly. All of a sudden, this guy who was passed out IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET animated into a highly agitated crazed lunatic. He jumps up and starts cursing me out using a lot of F-Bombs.
I get in our car and lock the doors and attempt to back up and get out of there, but I could only go so far in reverse because of the very busy street immediately to our backs. Cut off by traffic whizzing by behind us, I was only able to get turned 90 degrees before the guy jumped directly in front of our car. This effectively trapped us. I cannot suddenly enter traffic on our left, I can't go backwards because of the parked cars now behind us and I can't go forward or to the right because this A-Hole is jumping in front of the car whichever way we try to go - swearing at us and giving us the finger the whole time.
So, there we were trapped with this maniac accosting us. To try and draw attention to the situation and perhaps some help, I start honking the car horn. Nobody showed up. And, the guy just got more agitated...upping his rage, his use of the F-word and starting to unzip his pants as if he was going to pee on our car.
OK. Take a time out on the story for a moment. At this point, there has been a guy passed out in the middle of the street with houses and homes all around. The guy has loudly accosted me right there on the street. I've honked our horn as the guy continues to scream at us. And of course, nobody on this warm evening in a well-populated neighborhood showed up to see what was happening or help. Nor did any of the many cars going by just feet away. Thanks everyone. Thanks for the help.
Essentially trapped there with my wife in the car and not wanting to get out and go one-on-one with this clearly unstable guy (did he have a gun? a knife? something else?) and realizing that nobody was going to call the cops, show up to distract him or help in any way...and thinking that this guy's next move was probably going to be to start damaging our car or actually trying to physically assault us, I decide to call the cops - a much different 9-1-1 call that I thought I would have to make just a minute or two earlier.
As I got 9-1-1 on the line, the crazed guy realized what I was doing. He moved away from the front of the car over to my side like maybe he would start hammering on my window. This cleared the way for me to go forward for a few feet before moving the car to the left to get onto the main road. I decided to risk it and punched the engine. No cars were coming and we sped away.
At this point, there was no way I was going right back there or to our house directly. We made a round-about route back and spoke to the 9-1-1 officer as we did so - describing the guy and the incident. By the time we got back around to our street, approaching from a different direction, we could see that the guy's truck was gone. However, inebriated he was, he realized the cops would be showing up and he left. I told the 9-1-1 officer that he appeared to have left and concluded the call with her saying they would send a car to the neighborhood to check things out.
We pulled into our driveway and unpacked the car. I was still a bit leery that the crazy guy might be in the area on foot or in his truck. So, we put our car in the garage. As I put the garbage out on the curb for its next-morning pickup, I looked around, but did not see the guy or his truck...or any police car by the way. Nerves starting to calm, we settled back into a normal routine for the rest of the evening.
A drunk? Drug addict? Mentally ill? All of the above? Probably. But, I've been around those type of people before. And guess what? How many of them were PASSSED OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET? None. This guy has issues to say the least. I'll be keeping my eye out for him and his truck, but I hope that's the last we see of him. But you know what, as F-ed up as this guy was...I get it. He's crazy, addicted, whatever. What I don't get is...
As mentioned, thanks everyone. Thanks for nothing. Thanks for just ignoring a guy laying in your neighborhood street looking to all the world that he's dead. Thanks for not lifting a finger when he started verbally assaulting us. Thanks to all you drivers going by just feet away who decided to just keep going. Thanks.
A big heavy, cynical sigh as comment on people's unwillingness to help out.
What would I have done differently? Well, let me put it this way...if today I encountered a similar situation, I would simply leave the guy laying there. I would put the car in reverse and drive away without bothering. And why not? What do I get for trying to help...a guy assaulting me and my wife.
If for whatever reason I couldn't just avoid, I would probably have taken pictures or video of the guy in the act. In the moment this didn't occur to me, but in hindsight it could have been done very easily. That visual evidence or the mere fact I was doing it could have got the guy to leave immediately. But then again, it might have enraged him further. Who knows.
Anyway, the big picture is that this incident, combined with some others over the last few years (such as having items literally stolen off our front porch and out our mail box, an a-hole driver almost killing me with his horrible driving and then road raging me to make himself feel better, neighbors calling the police to our house because we didn't want to answer our front door when they knocked announced at 9 p.m. and more) have made me harden up on my view of humanity. Many, many people in this world - and apparently our own neighborhood - are not trustworthy. I will be less likely to help out and less trusting of people I do not know. I'm sorry to say that, but my experience is clear.