February 2011

Good Samaritan

I’d been wanting to express my appreciation to the good Samaritan who’d called the ambulance for me when i was lying in the street after my January accident, and i’d posted in the parklet a sign asking him or her to contact me, but had heard nothing.

Still, i cut a pretty broad swath here in San Francisco.  I’m out on the Segway virtually every day, and i’m gregarious, so a lot of people know me.  Last Saturday at the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market, i spotted my friend Steve and his kid Pablo, and when i went over to speak to them he told me that he’d heard about my accident from Bernie of Bernie’s coffee, which is immediately behind where i had decided i must have had the accident.

So thinking she might have some idea about who’d called the ambulance for me, i dropped by there that afternoon and bought a pound of their coffee, but discovered that Bernie wasn’t there.  I dropped by again on Sunday and got a latte, which was absolutely delicious and i sure hope was made out of the same beans i bought.

Oh, but it gets better.  Bernie came in from the back, and when i started telling her about Steve, she exclaimed that she didn’t recognize me without blood all over my face but that she had been leaving the store and had seen me go flying through the air and hit my head really hard, and that she’d called 911.  She’d gone to my side and then had been joined by a passing driver who’d seen me airborne and had thought she’d hit me, and the two of them then joined forces to keep me pinned down against all my efforts to get back into the fray.

Is this a guy thing or what?  You get your bell rung and you just automatically want to go right back into the game.  Since i had a little concussion, i have no memory of anything until a couple of hours later and had assumed i was unconscious, but Bernie assures me that i could understand her and answer simple questions fairly coherently and that i definitely wanted to get back into the game.

Meanwhile, i went back in today for that delicious latte and to continue taking jars of my products to her.  So far, the Feijoa Plum Chutney, Carol’s Little Bitter Orange Marmalade, and the Rodelle chocolate sauce.

And today, as i was leaving, i picked up a copy of the February issue of The Noe Valley Voice, a little neighborhood newspaper that has some capable writing and good coverage of local news.  To my astonishment, they included mention of my accident (at the very end of the Mission Station police report).

I do have a couple of quibbles:  first, i had a broken arm and hand in addition to the listed injuries, but second, i thought it was entirely gratuitous on the part of the cop who wrote the accident report to mention that the roadway barrier was “yellow-accented” so as to rub my nose in the fact that i shoulda seen the damn thing.

berniesHere’s Bernie’s, just west of Whole Foods.  Good vibes and delicious lattes:

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It struck me that there’s a fringe benefit from the revolutions sweeping North Africa:  a much higher percentage of Americans can now point out Tunisia on a map, thus partially relieving the geographic illiteracy for which we’re globally known.  Of course we’ve been like this for a generation.  An article in a recent The New Yorker mentioned as an aside that a Belgian student going to a university here would ask American students at parties to name five famous Belgians and that hardly any American could.  I, an international traveler and sophisticated language maven, snorted in derision at this before i started to trying to compose my list of five famous Belgians.

Then a wave of panic swept me until names gradually started surfacing.  Whew.  No problem:

  1. Justine Henin,
  2. Kim Clijsters,
  3. Kristof Vliegen,
  4. Christophe Rochus,
  5. Xavier Malisse.

And for extra credit:  Leopold II.

Which reminds me that several years ago i was at Lone Pine Nursery in Sebastopol (California!) and spotted a really spectacular agave.  I stooped to look at the name on its little stake and was shocked to read“AGAVE LEOPOLD II”, wondering why in the world such a gorgeous plant would be named after a man arguably the most evil human in history.  And then i realized it was Agave leopoldii and doubtless a different Leopold.

bike standsHere’s a couple of bike stands i like:

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The Story of Z

I am surrounded by a pack of wonderful friends so talented and so cutting edge that whatever i do, i discover that one of ’em has topped me before i even started.

Like that adventure i wrote about recently when i suddenly woke up in the hospital.

Just after my adventure, one of my friends whom i’ll call “Z” had also been found unconscious, not on the 24th Street pavement like me but rather on his bedroom floor, and had similarly awakened in the hospital.  Mutual friends told me about the episode and reassured me that Z was back at home and doing fine although in his case the hospital was unable to determine what had caused him to lose consciousness.

So last night i called Z and got his side of the story.  Turns out i’d been given the highly edited version suitable for maiden aunts and that in reality the last person to see Z conscious before he woke up intubated in the hospital 12 hours or so later had been a special agent dispatched to Z’s home by an escort service.

It seems that before the escort had started escorting, he had offered Z some “G”.  Some what?  i asked, suspecting even before Z confirmed it, that this was a new recreational drug, the very name of which i have got too old and out of touch to know.  I mean, back in the seventies i had usually experimented repeatedly with new substances well before they were even mentioned in the media.

I was only partially reassured to discover that i had read of G under its full name “gamma-hydroxybutyrate” or GHB (the infamous “date-rape drug”) although it appeared on the scene thirty years too late for me to have sampled it.

Z, being several decades younger and thus more current on recreational drugs, knew of it but had refused it owing to its propensity to cause – in addition to the euphoria and heightened intensity of feeling for which it is usually taken – a rapid and irreversible death.

So only the escort partook of the “G”, and after the escorting was done and the escort left, Z felt a bit thirsty and grabbed a bottle of water off the nightstand for a few generous gulps.

Flash forward to the hospital, where the mystery of why Z was unconscious was finally resolved by a message from the escort to Z’s mobile phone inquiring whether he might drop by to pick up the bottle of G-spiked water he’d left on the nightstand.

What annoys Z about this incident is that he knows in his heart that i am one of the few persons on the planet who believe him when he swears that he did not intentionally take G.

What truly deep fat fries Z is the understanding that if he had been feeling younger and bolder and had taken the G on purpose, he would have undoubtedly taken only a cautious sip rather than guzzling from the bottle.  So he would have had a much smaller dose and thus would have almost certainly have remained conscious and enjoyed the experience….and furthermore would have got away with it since he wouldn’t have ended up nearly dead in the hospital with tubes in his orifices.

Not to mention getting a totally undeserved reputation as a drug abuser.

Oh, harsh, harsh unfairness of life!

While me, to get some excitement into my life, i had to milk a little fall on 24th Street for every last drop of drama, it being over now since i got outta the splint today and have started training the fingers and wrist to work right again.

traumaAnd oh, as a reminder that i really should be extra vigilant regarding objects in my path, i am leaving on the Segway handlebar the trauma ward property room sticker.  That name “Paul TRI620”?  Well, when they bring you in unconscious, the triage nurse just makes something up for a name and gives you a serial number.

Note:  When Z read this account of his misadventure, he got back to me, not wanting me to misinform my readers regarding drugs.  He wrote, “While, I suppose, G could be used for this purpose as a powerful – if not fatal – soporific, the classic date-rape plat du jour is rohypnol, or ‘ruffies’.”

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