One night after work I caught a ride home from a coworker. We saw something strange as we drove by a church. In between the sidewalk and the wall of the church was a simple fence, and then a bunch of plants, shrubs, and trees to make the space look nice.
Trapped inside this fence, amongst all of the shrubs and plants, was a guy. He had the same look on his face that my hamster has when he’s on his back legs clawing at the corners of the glass cage trying to find a way out. This guy was doing the same thing against the side of the church.
His eyes were vacant, like someone in a movie under the influence of voodoo magic. I think we both said something like, “What the fuck is he doing?” I’m sure we both laughed. It looked ridiculous.
As we passed by, we saw him topple amongst all of the leaves and vines and pass out. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t even late, maybe midnight, and he was all by himself doing only God knows what.
We circled around the block and came back. He was dead asleep, with half of his body in the garden and half on the sidewalk. It looked so funny, that we took some pictures:
… where things went from being funny to frightening.
He was breathing fine. He just seemed to be passed out, but then he vomited, and started choking. His breathing wasn’t normal and rhythmic. This is when my coworker and I started to panic.
I remember we were both scared. I know I was, and I could see it in his face too. We had a frantic discussion that I’m sure went something like this:
“Is he breathing?” One of us or both of us, hell I don’t remember, stooped down to check.
“I can’t tell.”
“Fuck, what do we do?” The guy was making God awful gurgling noises at this time.
“He’s got puke all over his face and in his mouth … I don’t think I can give him mouth to mouth, I’d throw up too.” We both thought about it a moment realistically. “I can’t do it, there’s no way I can. There’s no way I could just let him die though.”
“Shit … call 911, I hope they get here soon, I don’t want to watch him die … dammit, I know I can’t do mouth to mouth on him.”
We were both disgusted and paralyzed by fear. One of us called 911, and the other went to the corner to signal them in. It was a crap shoot. Sometimes it sounded like he stopped breathing, other times it seemed like he was.
There was a moment of levity when he farted really loud and emitted a high pitch giggle, where we thought “Ok, he must be fine” but then he passed right back out.
It felt like an eternity before the ambulance showed up. A guy and girl EMT got out of the truck, snapped on some rubber gloves and said, “We’ll take it from here” with an air of total nonchalance.
We stood off to the side and watched. The EMT’s gave each other the look. It was a silent disdain for dealing with another drunk person way beyond the point of alcohol poisoning.
They shook him awake, and said things like “Time to go buddy” and “Get a move on it”.
He actually got up and sat on the fence. I think he even said, “I’m fine. Just gonna sleep here.”
“No you’re not,” the EMT’s grabbed him and put him in the ambulance. They drove off leaving us awkwardly standing on the sidewalk trying to wrap our heads around what had happened.