When it comes to fight or flight, I fall decidedly in the middle. I neither put up my dukes nor run like the wind; rather I just stand there like a chump and wait to see what comes next. This is exactly what happened the last time LA had a decent earthquake. I was at work and knew immediately that something was going down… like the building in which I was standing. Fascinated, I watched as the walls oscillated before my very eyes. Briefly looking to the exit, I considered if I should get the hell out of Dodge. Nah. I returned to my wall watching and was almost sad when that unsettling rolling motion beneath my feet came to an end.

So you have people like me, who are struck stupid during a disaster, and then you have those souls who immediately seize the opportunity to regale the rest of us with their impressive knowledge of all things catastrophic. Let’s get real, though. These individuals aren’t heroes. They don’t care about rescuing kittens from treetops or babies from burning buildings. They just want everyone to know that they saved Fluffy from impending doom. These are the same people who minus a crisis still force themselves into your perfectly safe and sound life whether you like it or not. It’s the grandma who comments on your choice of cereal while checking out at the grocery store. The strange man who critiques your reading material as you wait at the car wash. The weird dude who approaches an expectant mother to give pregnancy advice. I believe the official term for these people is “know-it-all.” Most times it’s also used in conjunction with the word “crazy.”

Such was the case last weekend when I was dropping off some papers for work. It was a Saturday, and although the office was technically closed, one coordinator was on hand to collect said paperwork. Though as I neared the entrance, I noticed a few people standing outside the door… A line? Great. Just great. Now I would have to wait before getting my Judy Greer triple-header on. (In order of awesomeness… 13 Going on 30, 27 Dresses and What Women Want.) It was only once I peered inside that my pity party came to a screeching halt. Lying on the floor was a young man. Eyes wide open and perfectly still, he stared at the ceiling and seemed to be unresponsive.

Someone was already on the line with 911, and shortly thereafter an ambulance and fire truck arrived. Impressive. Most impressive. I, on the other hand, was not. Because I have to make every situation about myself, I was mortified that numerous people – firemen, no less – were seeing me sans makeup. I had assumed this little drop-off would be just that and barely bothered brushing my hair before walking out the door. Now stranger after stranger were witness to my bare-naked face. Odd, they appeared to not notice; with a single focus they wheeled in the gurney and immediately got to work. The others and I looked on as they checked the man’s vital signs and asked for his name. He remained catatonic. That’s when some random chick decided to pipe up.

The paramedics had the situation under control; however, this woman decided that they could benefit from her medical expertise. Peering down at the young man, she began her diagnosis of the patient. “He’s breathing, but unresponsive.” Nice work, Dr. Grey. “I think he might be on drugs.” I agree that somebody was on drugs. “Or maybe someone did this to him.” Professor Plum with a candlestick in the library.

Seeing as the paramedics were unresponsive to her, she turned to the rest of us. “I don’t know, guys. There’s something wrong about this.” Obviously. “We don’t know who else is in this building. Maybe there’s somebody here who could hurt us.” I was convinced, but not that a homicidal maniac was about to end all of us; I wondered if perchance a straightjacket was in that ambulance. “I’m getting a bad feeling about this building. I think we should leave. We should all leave now.”

Inadvertently confirming her suspicions, the paramedics then prepared to exit the building. As efficient as they come, in a matter of minutes they wheeled out the patient and started toward the ambulance. The rest of us, a bit dazed and confused, followed them outside and watched as they left for the hospital. After checking his ID, turns out the poor guy was the coordinator with whom we were supposed to meet. That kind of put a damper on things.

Yet with the patient gone and no one left in the building, our self-appointed Sarah Connor would not stop spewing her unsolicited assertions. “You know, I always felt something was wrong here. Something’s not right about that building.” The last time I yelled at someone to shut up I was probably ten years old and my older sister was certainly saying something to deserve it. I could feel myself regressing once again. However, the half-dozen other individuals and I simply walked away from crazy know-it-all mid-sentence. Undeterred, she turned her attention to the approaching security guard on duty. I should have warned him, but as luck would have it, my flight instinct just happened to kick in at that very moment.

Epilogue: I inquired about the young man a few days later. He spent about six hours in the hospital and was later released into the care of his wife. They still don’t know what exactly happened. Nervous breakdown? Or perhaps he was forced into a catatonic state after becoming the victim of random chick’s ranting? My bet’s on the latter.

Image: vichie81 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Responses to “In Case Of Emergency”

Love this one! “I agree that somebody was on drugs.” Hahaha Also love me some Judy Greer! Saw her at a bar once but too shy to approach her. Jawbreaker and Adaptation (she’s only briefly in it) are also good ones with her.

February 9th, 2012

Thank you so much, Robb! I am a huge JG fan & hope she gets her long-overdue leading lady status soon. 🙂

February 9th, 2012