We met a brief 10 minutes ago when I pulled up to his apartment in SLC. Yes-it’s another first date, and it’s a blind date, and I had considered backing out of the date more than 10 times. All I knew was that his name is Tim.
We met, started chatting and acting like old friends with banter and sarcasm. We quickly pulled up to the popular restaurant the Red Iguana. His friends that we were meeting were coming, and so he put our names on the list and we began to field the all too familiar first date questions while we waited on the bench outside the store.
“Yeah, I’m getting my masters—no no it’s not that big of a deal”
“Fourth child, only girl…yeah, I’m a little spoiled”
“Well honestly, my favorite food is potatoes…shot I should have said something more sexy”
And then a large black man who was yelling for someone to call the police swaggered down the sidewalk. As he past the large crowds no one said anything and let him continue to walk. I looked at Tim as the intoxicated man came closer.
The Chicago born man turned his head to reveal a deflated eye, weeping tears of viscous blood. His torn eyelid hung, threatening to detach. Tim and I both momentarily paused, confused--believing it was unbelievable.
And I didn’t know what to do. And I paused, and as I think about that pause I feel sick that I am the person that did what the others did. I watched while someone who needed helped, yelled with profanity, pleading for assistance, and just paused. They call it the bystander effect. I call it an excuse used by those who, for whatever reason, don’t help.
And then Tim was on the line with the police, while I sat with the man asking for details about the children he kept talking about. Hoping to glean information that would be useful to the police, while middle aged men asked their wives to stand on the other side of them while quickly fleeing to their cars.
And Tim remained on the phone. And I stayed on the floor with the man.
And the police and ambulance came and took him away.
And Tim looked at me and said, “This is a great way to start out a first date.”