The weekends are the only time that I can get out of the house, but Saturday mornings all the children are home so, Saturday mornings are spent at home, surrounded by family. Late Saturday afternoons, we head out for adventures. This adventure began in one of my favorite places, Hippie Holler. Although serious decluttering will begin January 2013, I’ve already sorted several decades of leftover school project supplies into boxes and buckets for friends. The bucket with yarn and fabric needed to be delivered to Hippie Holler. There, the remains of the yarn that we wasted gluing to shoeboxes and posterboard would be transformed into useful things, like blankets. Although the best thing about Hippie Holler is the beautiful people that live there, the second best thing is their upcycling lifestyle. I wish that I could spend an entire day documenting the whimsically enchanting community. I never get more than a dozen pictures clicked before creating a ripple in their calm. “What agency do you work for?”
I hate the constant harassment that codes gives people who transform things headed for the landfill into homes and a community. People like Rollo, Michael Reynolds and Dan Phillips can’t afford the SuperPac it would take to rewrite the codes and rules for homes made largely from reclaimed supplies. That must change.
The next few stops went from the weekly restocking of laundry and dish soap, to purchasing the first Christmas gift of the season. Christmas is the source of much stress and anxiety right now and it’s compounded by a headache and sore throat that have been slowing me down for the past two days. Doug decided that food would make me feel better, so we went to our favorite date night spot for half price sushi. Unfortunately for us, our spot was completely booked for a private party. Doug turned down my suggestion that we skip our weekly restaurant treat and announced that I would be trying a new restaurant.
We attributed being seated in the lounge instead of the main area to our casual clothing. The lounge area music was slightly too loud and a toddler in the room squealed and yelled a steady stream of happy noises. The waiter was practically bouncing off the walls with perkiness. As the food arrived, we heard a commotion in the main area of the restaurant. I could see a line of employees moving toward one location and wrote the noise off as some bizarre variation on the birthday song. I took a few bites and the commotion got louder. Even with the screeching toddler and the loud music, it was clear that someone was definitely screaming. As Doug and I turned toward the source of the activity, a waitress ran to the bar and shakily asked, “Does anyone know CPR?” Doug looked at me and I said, “GO!”
I didn’t even know the name of the restaurant. I walked to where Doug was standing over the two men working on the fallen man. A crowd of people stood beyond that ring. Like orbits of participation, the people shouting “save him” were outside the ring of people shouting numbers, who were outside the ring of people consisting of Doug and the other hands on helpers. It was a solar system of helplessness.
Maybe we should keep a pile of sheets in the corner of every room so that people without the skills to help, can tear strips, like hysterical bystanders in a movie birthing scene.
Three employees dragged the fallen man’s screaming female companion outside. The employees were crying silently. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized the employees were all barely in their twenties. Their enthusiastic restaurant skills were useless in this scenario. In my mind, only an AED could bring this man back. I know the odds without one. I stepped outside and looked around. The dark unoccupied bank across the street had an AED. I was certain of it. The only other place that might was the nearby Krispy Kreme. Before I could even ponder the time it would take to run there, I heard a laugh. A large group seated in the lounge area was oblivious to the human tragedy occurring a few feet from where they ate and told funny stories. In the far distance, I heard a siren.
I ran inside the room and began shoving tables and chairs out of the area around the still, silent man as I heard Doug yelling, “Don’t stop!” Everyone in the room was frozen, listening to the siren getting louder and silently begging the emergency workers to move faster. The room seemed to sway and an unwanted song played in my head as the three men trying to help shouted and worked rhythmically together, as if they were the engine on a sinking ship. The first paramedic walked in and gently pushed the head of the man looking up from rescue breaths so that he would resume forcing air. I walked back to my table.
Doug sat down silently and we stared at our plates. The toddler was still shouting. The clueless party continued laughing. We paid our check and left. Everyone in the main room quietly left with us. The ambulance remained. The paramedics quietly and slowly went through their required duties. The lack of urgency was sobering.
My headache cranked to eleven instantly. Unlike the migraines that I have had my entire life, this time it felt as though my eyes were going to pop like balloons. I got in bed, put a pillow over my head and fought against the scene that kept replaying in my head. I was in the bed for twelve hours, but I barely slept. Today feels dull and thick. We aren’t talking about the Christmas shopping that we were supposed to get done this weekend. We are just breathing in and breathing out.
Because we can.