One evening last week when returning home from painting the new place (which we are scheduled to close on at 9:00 AM this Friday) there was a female staggering across the street. We watched her struggle to walk, teeter on the edge of the sidewalk and nearly fall over. I jogged over to ask if she needed some help, but before I could finish my sentence she was draped over me and I assisted her across the road to sit on our front steps. Crying, muttering and slurring her words together, her story began to unfold…
She had been drinking with friends and for a reason unknown was kicked out of the house they were at. Her daughter and car keys remained inside and she was roaming the neighborhood convinced that someone was driving around in her car with her daughter in the back seat. She was clearly very intoxicated, angry and frightened. I offered my phone but she couldn’t manage to dial a working number. I asked if there was anywhere I could drive her to and without answering she jumped up in a stumbled attempt to run down the street… with my phone still in her hand. So, I ran after her (luckily it wasn’t difficult to catch up) and retrieved my phone. She kept running… right past a patrol car… and then back to my front steps. She though she had seen her car.
I tried to figure out how I could help, knowing I couldn’t just leave her out there, but it was difficult to get a coherent response to anything I asked or said. Again, in the middle of “conversation” she jumped up, staggered to the alley and hit the top of a car that was slowing to turn the corner. A woman angrily got out of her vehicle and began yelling. I quickly stepped toward her hoping to prevent her from clobbering the intoxicated woman. To my relief, the officer that had been on 15th a minute ago looped around and now joined us in the alley.
I wished that I could have helped her, found her daughter or taken her home to sleep it off… there was nothing I could do now but watch her get cuffed and sat in the back of the car with the red and blue flashing lights. I felt a little sad, and helpless, but it was out of my control… and sometimes, that’s just the way it is.