Crumbs for the Pigeons

An elderly lady collapsed outside work yesterday afternoon. An ambulance arrived and carted her off to hospital. I hope she made a full recovery.

This is not something I would usually share, but the fainting woman was not the most shocking aspect. It was the people.

Somebody was on the ground beside the old woman, acting as citizen paramedic and local hero. But the others are what really grabbed me.

They say most motorway traffic is not caused by crashes, but drivers slowing to take a closer look at the mangled wreck. The old woman’s crippled frame served the same purpose.

There were hordes of them. Some in suits, others in polo shirts, mother’s clutching the hands of their children. And they weren’t doing anything more than gathering and raising the heat.

I trundled back and forth from the window. The collapsed victim hazed into the background. I watched the people. I remembered faces. I flicked eyes at the clock, timing their gawking.

And the whole time, I couldn’t help but think, surely they must have some place better to be, there has to be something productive they can be doing, not just watching the pain of a stricken pensioner sprawled on the searing pavements.

An elderly lady collapsed outside work yesterday afternoon, and she was crumbs for the pigeons.


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