I’m supposed to blog when something interesting happens to me, right?
This morning as I was passing through Shinjuku Station, I saw a woman take a dive down a short flight of slippery stairs and lie crumpled on the wet ground with a quickly expanding pool of blood under her head. (That freaked me out.) I’ve lived here long enough to know that you can’t assume someone else is going to help so I rushed down her, tore off my headphones (and my glasses–oops), grabbed a towel from someone who pulled one out, knelt down and held the towel to her head while resting her neck on my thigh.
She was talking, which was a relief. She was saying, “Don’t worry about me, if you need to get to work, please go because I don’t want to make you late.” I told her to just relax and asked her if she was hurt anywhere else. She said she hurt her leg a little, but it didn’t look broken, although I wasn’t about to let my hand off her head to check. Man, she was really gushing blood. It looked like someone had slaughtered a dog on the sidewalk.
I got blood all over my jeans. Not a good pair, but these days none of my jeans are a “good pair.” I can’t buy my size in Japan, so I only have a few old pairs left that are still wearable. In other words, I trashed about 20% of my wardrobe right there.
Someone else called an ambulance on their mobile phone. It was nice that so many people stopped to ask if someone had called one. I like to see people care about total strangers, but day to day I don’t see it often enough. Either people don’t want to get involved or they just stand there dumbfounded.
There was another women there who vaguely knew her because they work at the same company, so she stayed with her to wait for the ambulance and I left to get washed up. She kept saying that she didn’t want to make anyone late, and by that time she was sitting up and not bleeding as much so I figured it was OK to leave. But it’s never easy to know if it’s really OK to leave in a situation like that. She wanted me to, so I left.
And now I have to spend the rest of today wearing blood-stained jeans. I don’t mind, really. It doesn’t look like I’ve been through a massacre, but the stain is definitely noticeable so I’m a bit self-conscious.
Update: When I got home tonight my wife gave me a ziplock baggie full of some magical blue powder to put on the stain. The jeans just came out of the washer and much to my surprise the blood washed off completely without a trace. I told the story to both of my kids. Tony (the older one) wanted to know every last detail of the ordeal. Andy wanted to know why the heck would I volunteer to help a complete stranger.