Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Day Of Firsts

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
34 42.54 N 081 05.58 W

Saturday, we rode the bus 35 miles up to the nautical flea market on Islamorada. The flea market was very busy and attended by a huge crowd, but we didn't find any items we were shopping for.

Around noon, we went out to the highway to wait for the bus to return to Marathon. There were 15-20 others waiting with us. When the bus came everybody boarded. When our turn came the driver refused. "The bus is full," he said, "and standing passangers are not allowed." "When is the next bus?" was our first thought. "Three hours," was the answer.

Well, that really set us aback. It was hot in the blazing sun. It was dusty in the parking lot where we waited. I worried about the next bus being full too, and the one after that and the one after that. I fantasized about sleeping overnight by the side of the road. My reaction was irrational -- no doubt spurred by the feelings of two very self-sufficient people being abruptly placed in the position of unwanted dependence.

We went to a nearby stand and bought a cool drink to calm down. Then the solution came to me; hitchhike! For Libby that was a lifetime's first. She had never hitchiked anywhere in any circumstance. For me, it was natural. In high school, I rode the school bus the first day, dind't like it and hitchiked the rest of my school career; even through college.

Did it work? Yes it did. After about 5 minutes, a man leaving the drink stand offered to give us a ride. The man's name was Lenny. We explsined to Lenny why we were in this predicament. He wasn't going as far as Marathon, but he proposed a good solution. Lenny took us to the Hapton Inn, about 10 miles down the road. He said, "The bus stop is across the road from the Inn. You can wait in the air conditioned lobby and enjoy a free coffee." We did exactly that and it was fine -- much better than waiting on the road.

When the time came, we went out to the road. There was an attractive young woman who was also waiting for the bus. She was dressed up like she was out for an evening on the town. We chatted with her as we waited. Just as the bus came and was stopping 25 feet away, the young woman abruptly went stiff and fell to the ground.

Libby tried to catch her and eased her fall. I was shocked and stunned and frozen actionless. The woman was in a full grand mal seizure. Her back and neck were arched and rigid. Her eyes rolled back in her head so that the pupils disappeared. Drool and a bit of blood ran from her open mouth. I have never before witnessed such a seizure, but Libby has. She used to care for developmentally disabled adults and she has seen many seizures.  Libby monitored her breathing, something which I didn't think to do.

People came pouring off the bus to help. The bus driver called 911. Really though, there was not much we could do to help. In about 4 minutes, the woman's eyes reappeared and she started regaining consciousness. Naturally, she was disoriented and scared by all the strange people surrounding her. About the time that we got her back on her feet, the ambulance appeared -- total response time about 5 minutes. We turned her over to the ambulance attendants. Then Libby grabbed the bus driver by the collar. She looked him in the eye and said, "Don't let that bus go anywhere without us. We need to go to Marathon." -- end of story.

Perhaps the most interesting long term implication of these stories is our emotional dependence on self-sufficiency. Just prior to deciding to cruise in 2004, I had read the Pardey's famous book The Self Sufficient Sailor. Clearly that appeals to us. Clearly, I've infected Libby with my own values. Also clear in retrospect was our horror at the predicament of that poor woman who went from being confidently self-sufficient, to publicly and humiliatingly dependent on others in a fraction of a second.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Type your comments here.