Saturday, February 28, 2009


Those of you who went to college with me might recall a particular sweatshirt that I wore with some regularity. It's green, hooded, has a zipper, and has three white Greek letters on the left breast. I purchased it from a vendor who came annually to our dormitory and attempted to foist high-price, low-quality merchandise off on unsuspecting Greeks. It cost a great deal of money for a shitty hoodie, but I figured that if I didn't buy any other frat merchandise, I could justify this purchase. So I bought it, and I wore it, and seven years later it hasn't fallen apart, so I guess it's less poorly made than I thought.

Tonight it served a purpose for which it never was intended.

The Mysterious X and I were on our way home earlier tonight from a delightful evening at Violesbian's apartment, playing Seafarers of Catan and eating things wrapped in Filo dough. We were on the #4 bus, eastbound along Santa Monica Boulevard, sitting on the special elevated seats that the extra-long buses have in front of the cool accordion part. Across from us sat an obnoxious couple with a stack of assorted magazines and a case of the giggles. In front of us sat an assortment of passengers including (but not limited to) a youngish white man in a very nice three-button gray suit, a young black woman with a short fro and rather more fashionable weekend attire, and a middle-aged, dyed-blond Russian woman talking animatedly on a cellphone with an earpiece.

Somewhere in Beverly Hills, a new passenger boarded the bus. He was Latino, late 30s, wearing an orange and white, horizontal-striped polo shirt that was just a shade too tight. Nothing about him stood out at all as unusual. Until he collapsed suddenly to the floor and started to have a seizure.

Suit guy got down on the floor and turned the man onto his side. Fro woman called 911. The man having the seizure began banging his head on the floor; that's where my sweatshirt came in. I took it off and put it under his head as padding, while suit guy held his head still and kept him on his side. Something reddish was leaking from somewhere in the man's face or head.

Within two minutes, if not sooner, the Beverly Hills Fire Department ambulance had arrived and the half dozen EMTs took over. The passengers toward the front of the bus, where this all happened, filed out onto the sidewalk to get out of the way. The Russian woman was still gabbing away on her cellphone, seeming moderately put out but otherwise unconcerned. Several other passengers peered into the windows of the bus, trying to catch a glimpse of the man who remained on the floor, surrounded by medical personnel. The rest of us were fairly shaken up and simply waited outside. My shirt stayed under the man's head.

Eventually, the man was hauled out on a Miller Board and put into the ambulance. He seemed to be awake and responsive, which he hadn't been while on the floor. One of the paramedics returned my sweatshirt, and we continued on. The Russian woman hadn't stopped talking on her phone once throughout the incident. Another man who was inexplicably carrying a white plastic bucket remained seemingly oblivious.

Things happen on buses.


at_resonance said...

I think it's time for a third blog: Weird Stuff That Happens on LA Public Transportation

Kate said...

Thank heavens for your sweatshirt.

Hmm... what about Weird Stuff that Happens on *any* public transportation?

Leila said...

i like how you make a story about a sweatshirt not be about a sweatshirt, really. and how when you tell a story about a man having a seizure on a bus, you start with a sweatshirt.