As I made my way home from talking with local filmmaker Jamie Hook, I grabbed a bite at the Kidd Valley near my house.
Just as I turned from the counter, another patron said something that ended with the words “…fallen.” I turned to look out the door where a concerned elderly woman hovered over another elderly person, lying on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.
The attention of the restaurant shifted onto the old couple as I made my way to a seat. Employees provided a telephone and a call was placed, presumably to 911.
From my seat I could see the various denizens of the tiny park across the street from the restaurant also watching the couple. A trio of street drunks appeared to be the only persons who remained oblivious of the event.
The drunks on the bench tenderly released their bottle from the depths of their coats before passing it with reverence to the next most grabby of their number. After his slug, that lucky man exaggeratedly concealed the bottle somewhere in the folds of his clothing.
Eventually the attention of the restaurant and of the others in the park returned to what they had been doing – eating, reading, waiting for the bus – with the clear exceptions of the older members of both populations.
At the bus stop, a seventyish man with a sagging face and intricate folds of skin beneath his jaw gravely regarded the couple from under the brim of his grey fedora, hands folded behind his back. His jaw worked erratically. Open, shut open, open, shut, open. At first it appeared that he was talking to himself.
A somewhat younger man, seated at a window booth in the restaurant, regarded the scene from under a rakish snap-brim, enlivened by a spray of pheasant feathers. His hat and recently barbered grey hair were at odds with his puffy orange coat. In the booth behind him, a white-haired, grandmotherly type gazed at the scene on the sidewalk.
From where I sat, I could not see the couple.
The ambulance arrived, and as the EMTs unlimbered the gurney, the restaurant’s golden oldies soundtrack segued from The Monkees’ Pleasant Valley Sunday into the Rolling Stones’ Time is on my Side.