The Incident With The Lady In The Wheelchair (Who May Or May Not Have Escaped From A Hospital)

Years ago I had a crazy experience with a lady in a wheelchair.  The following is going to sound ridiculous and impossible but I assure you that it is 100% true.  Without further ado…

 

It was a Friday night and we were over at Steve’s house.  Steve was actually a friend I had made through my buddy Ben.  I had driven to Steve’s house after work, we’d had a barbeque and now we were hanging out, rockin’ a few brews.  I was about 21 at the time so obviously I ended up having a few too many.  While talking and telling stories we inevitably lost track of time and ended up sitting on Steve’s sundeck under the stars.  Suddenly I don’t feel so good.  I shoot up, run to the railing and get sick over the edge of Steve’s sundeck.  Later on a few girls show up and a bunch of us are sitting on the front steps talking.  I’m pretty drunk at this point.  Next thing I know I’m laying on Steve’s front lawn with my face pointed towards his wife’s flower bed.  Apparently I’d gotten sick in said flower bed a few moments earlier.  A nice blonde girl was stroking my hair, which at that moment, felt like the greatest thing in the history of the world.

I woke up in my house the next morning with no recollection of how I’d gotten there.  It was around 10am.  I had a shower (making sure to have a quick puke while I was in there) and made some coffee.  I then remembered that I had a baseball game in a few hours.  My Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction led me to believe that I probably hadn’t driven my truck home last night.  This was confirmed by the empty driveway outside.  The game was in three hours and I had to be at the yard in two.  Like all 21 year-olds I was broke.  I had two hours to pack up my gear, get a bus to Steve’s house on the other side of town and then drive to the ball park.  Such a simple task should be easy for a resourceful guy like myself, despite me not being an avid bus user.  This was before smart phones so I came up with a plan; walk outside and stand by the closest bus stop.  Genius, I know.

Eventually a bus comes along and I get on, “Do you head in towards X part of town?” I ask.  “Not really, but I can take you to Y where you can transfer to a bus that does.”  Beauty.  I grab a seat and bask in my amazing problem solving abilities.  Before long we arrive at the stop where I am to change busses.  I hop off and begin the short walk to the next bus stop, my gear bag slung over my shoulder.  The sun is shining (always a good sign to a baseball player) and I’m starting to feel a bit better now that I’ve been up and about for a while.  I get to the next bus stop and start to think about the upcoming baseball game.  How many hits will I get?  One?  Two?  Maybe more?

Out of the corner of my eye I see three women walk around the corner; A woman pushing a wheelchair, a teenage girl, and a woman in said wheelchair… wearing a hospital gown.  ‘That’s nice’ I think to myself, ‘That lady’s friends and/or family are taking her for a walk.  My family would never do that for me.’  They stop at the bus stop and the following happens:

Lady pushing wheelchair: “There ya go.  Have a great day!”

Lady in wheelchair: “That’s perfect.  Thanks!”

The nice lady who was pushing the wheelchair and the teenage girl then turn around and walk back the way they came.  Right away I’m thinking (through what remains of my self induced brain fog) that this can’t be right.  Who drops off some stranger at a bus stop when they’re wearing a hospital gown?  Does this lady need help?  In fairness, she does seem coherent and comfortable.  I decide to let it play out.  Out of nowhere she starts rolling her wheelchair toward the curb.  Should I stop her?  She seems to know what she’s doing.  Maybe she’s been in a wheelchair for years and is about to do that move where they tilt the wheelchair back and kinda hop down using just the back whee… Nope.  She approaches the curb at an angle and immediately drops the left, front wheel down to the road which causes the entire thing to tip over… into oncoming traffic.  I drop my gear bag and start toward her to.  Some guy who was riding a bike jumps off, positions his bike diagonally across the lane and starts frantically waving people to merge over, away from the downed wheelchair.  Two guys in a pick up truck screech to a halt and jump out.  They stare at me and I stare at them.  You can convey a lot of emotion through a half second stare-down with two guys in a pick up truck.  I feel like our stares went as follows:

Pick up truck guys: (What the hell is happening here?!)

Me: (How the hell should I know?!  She just rolled herself out on to the road!  I don’t even know this lady.  I’m just trying to get to my truck which I left over at my buddy Steve’s house!)

The two guys grab her, one on each arm, and begin lifting her up.  I jump on the chair, positioning it so they can get her back in to it.  We then lift the chair back up on to the sidewalk.  During all of this I spot the cyclist looking over his shoulder to see how things are going.  He’s still waving at traffic like Carlton Fisk, willing the traffic to move to the right.  Almost as quickly as these guys appeared, they disappeared.  The cyclist hops on his bike and rides away, the two guys jump back in their pick up truck, but not before we had another epic conversation with our thought-stares:

Me: (Please don’t leave me here with this lady!!!)

Pick up truck guys: (Sorry buddy, you’re on your own.)

Me: (Burn in hell you sons of b*tches!)

After we had mutually agreed that they should go on without me, they drove off.  At this point I don’t know what to do.  Should I help this lady?  Should I call someone?  How the heck would I do any of this anyway?  She turns to me:

Lady in wheelchair: “I was just trying to get over to the pub there to get a drink so I can take my medication.”

Me: “Oh. OK.”

Lady in wheelchair: “That’s OK, I’ll get a drink when I get up to the gas station up the road.  Gotta buy smokes.”

Me: “Oh.”

Lady in wheelchair: “You don’t smoke do you?”

Me: “No. Sorry.”

Lady in wheelchair: (Disgusted) “Pffft.”

So we’re standing/sitting there, presumably now waiting for the same bus.  I assume that I’ll be expected to help her get on said bus, which is fine.  Does she have any money?  I have just enough to buy a ticket for me.  What if I’m somehow pressured in to buying her a ticket?  What sadistic animal decided to take me home last night??? Why the hell didn’t Steve just let me crash at his house???

Suddenly, out of nowhere this Jamaican guy comes out from behind the apartment building behind us:

Jamaican guy: “Mary! (or whatever he called her) There you are!”

Lady in wheelchair: “Bill! (whatever) There you are!”

Bill then proceeds to wheel Mary behind, and presumably in to, the apartment building.  As I stand there trying to process what just happened the bus pull up.  I get on, pay my fare and sit down.  When I get to Steve’s he is standing in his back yard, drinking a beer and hosing off the concrete walkway behind his house.  I apologized for going a little overboard the night before but he didn’t seem to mind.

 

Mike

 

 

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