I spent a lot of the day time on my own; thinking, observing, writing… being. Some things would make me smile and some things would make me wonder about human behaviour and how we work.
After another visit to the park in the warming sunshine glow, I was happy to discover that there happened to be some live lunchtime jazz playing. I found a spot, along from two old birds that were alternating deep conversation with staring out into the distance. I hadn’t seen it happen, but I’d noticed when everyone’s heads appeared to be focused in one direction; where a daytime drunk had fallen over and caned his head on the concrete to the point where his skull was pissing blood. His backpack had fallen down on the step and something black had fallen out.
A couple of people were tending to him. One was on the phone to emergency services. Another was pressing white napkins against his wound. They kept staining red, at a rapid rate, as he went through the small pile next to him.
If you can picture those times that you’ve spilt liquid all over the table, something that makes you say ‘sh*t!’ like a whole mug of coffee… and it drips down onto the floor and there is a stream headed towards some important papers you’ve got to sign and then you notice that there’s coffee in the keyboard. And you only have one sodding tea towel with last night’s dinner baked into the weave… it kinda looked like that was happening.
It always seems so dramatic, spilling coffee. But in reality, it’s not. It’s not like a guy with a gash in his head sprawled on the greenest of grass with perky little daisies in the middle of a live jazz set; in the middle of picnics and babies and the retired on their day out. Lying conscious but not really aware because he’s had a few… amid the crowd; some gawking, some staring behind the camouflage of their sunglasses, some looking the other way but taking more glimpses than they’d like to, one filming from their smart phone. I don’t understand that… who lies there and films a stranger with blood pissing out of his head?
I was twitching, wanting to help. I probably looked a bit like a squirrel. But it’s that awkward moment of how many strangers is an acceptable amount to come to one person’s aid, without their being too many milling about? So when the guy called out for serviettes, I jumped to my feet and tossed a packet of San Francisco branded tissues across the stream. Another packet was given to me to throw, from an old lady. I went to find some more from the food caravans, but it took too long. I was just about to offer my cardigan as some kind of tourniquet when the ambulance casually rocked up.
I paced off my nerves. It’s a coping mechanism to take me away from the thoughts of my past. In these situations, I now get a little bit panicky mixed with emotional empathy toward the person. I have learned to soothe myself with a walk, some good quality breathing and some distractions… like window shopping. I still hoped that he was ok.
But… there are always happy things and awkward moments.
I looked at a couple of those cool cards shops. I love how the UK has stores dedicated to the funniest, rudest, crassest and most inappropriate greeting cards. I could spend hours in there, reading and buying them all. But I’m good now; I give myself a time limit, so I don’t end up camping overnight in a patchwork tent made of envelopes.
I was cooking dinner for my hosts that night, so I went and bought a hefty load of ingredients and some flowers from the florist on the corner, that had flower buckets gushing out onto the street. I mused over some fresh tulips.
“’Ello love. Whatcha after?” he said with a slight limp in his gait.
“Ummmm…. I think I’ll take the tulips.”
It’s sometimes hard to decide when you’re buying a gift for someone else, that you’ve picked the right kind of flowers.
“The pink or the white ones?”
Really hard to decide.
“How about I’ll give you one of both… for the price of one.”
“Really?! That’s so kind!”
He plucked out one set of each, dripping, and quickly bundled each bunch in thick white paper.
I looked down to where my dress fell mid-calf, closer to my knee.
“Uh, it’s actually a dress.”
I thanked him, for the flowers, and awkwardly picked up my hefty shopping bags; trying not to squish the stems of the tulips where the plastic bag handles were carving white into my knuckles, while trying to make sure that my dress was in fact covering my arse.
I made dinner that evening, enjoying the company I was in and appreciating every bite. I had been out in the sunshine, hung out in card shops, got given free flowers, and my head was intact. I will fill you in with more of my random moments from Bournemouth.
Until then, stay safe x