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Yesterday I was on my way home, waiting for the train I noticed a man dangerously close to the platform edge. This man didn’t look quite right to me and he continued to “lean” towards the platform edge. I came in a little closer and I could see that this man was extremely high off of some powerful substance. I can’t say whether or not they were legal drugs, but my guess, based on what I saw is heroine. Having grown up in the South Bronx during a time that crack and heroine use were quite prevalent, I can recognize the symptoms of a heroine user.
Well this man was so high that he nearly toppled over into the train tracks. I stood in awe as I watched this, almost as if in slow motion. I’d been thinking about helping him, and I decided that I should move fast and take action. So I went over to the guy and pulled him back by the shoulder. I did this carefully because I didn’t want to get attacked by some guy that apparently has no regard for his own life. I can hardly imagine he’d much care for my life. He didn’t resist, but slowly opened his eyes, he then realized where he was standing and he let me guide him away from the edge. He leaned up against the wall and I left him there with the words “Quedate aqui papa, no te vayas a caer pa ya abajo. Tu sabes.” That’s spanish slang for “Stay over here man, you don’t want to be falling down there. Know what I’m saying.” He slowly nodded and proceeded to nod off while barely holding himself up on the wall. I don’t know how this man has lived this long if this is a regular occurrence.
Some months ago I was walking down 69th street in Queens, and I saw a vehicle on the side of the road that was turned on. Inside there was a man leaning back, apparently passed out. It was an open space so I figured he wouldn’t be dead from the vehicle exhaust, however a man asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle that is powered on is not a good thing. I told my son to wait for me on the sidewalk. I went over and tapped on the windshield, he didn’t respond, I knocked on the door, he didn’t respond, I banged on the ceiling, he didn’t respond. Now there is a crowd building up, the whispers and murmurs begin, some of the onlookers ask me “Is he ok?” This one older lady says to me “Ayudalo muchacho, esta muerto?”. That means “Help him, is he dead?” At this point I tried to open the door, it was not locked, so I looked at his hands to ensure there were no sharp items in them, or any visible guns. After verifying that my chances of coming out of this one alive were good, I went into the car and tapped the man, again, he did not respond. I was growing tired of the charade so I grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him while shouting at him “Are you ok”? He then came to, he blinked slowly and saw us all around him. I asked “are you ok man”, he nodded yes and I walked away.
On the other side of the spectrum you have the people that are not so nice. Yesterday I read a post by a friend of mine who said she saw an old man walking with a cane. He was smiling, proudly wearing his Vietnam veteran hat as he slowly walked down the street. His cane must have hit a crack or something because the man went flying forward and hit his head on the way down. According to my friend he was knocked out cold from the impact. She immediately went over and called 911. As she waited with him she said that she heard hipsters (this happened in Williamsburg) start in with “he must drunk, why’d we have to pass out on our street”. Apparently the renter or owner of the house where it happened said “I don’t have time for this, I need to go to the store” and she then walked away. My friend stated that she remained with the man until the ambulance came. She said she provided the older man the address of the house where the injury took place so that he may take legal action against those hipsters.
So there you have some good, with a little bit of the bad from the city.
Growing Up Bronx