Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just Call Me Wonderwoman

A couple of weeks ago, I realized something about myself: I have an uncontrollable impulse to help my fellow man, an impulse which I am in the process of systematically eradicating from my personality traits as it is completely socially unacceptable and often downright irritating to others in my current environment.

In this city I've found that my "help" is often spurned and elicits a sense of suspicion and foreboding by those unfortunate enough to receive it. For the skeptics in my readership, I give you Exhibits A and B.

Exhibit A:

Walking down 49th Street on the way to brunch one fine Sunday morning, I came to the relatively busy intersection of 49th Street and 8th Avenue. Waiting to cross at the corner with me was an elderly man and his adorable dog. While obviously an adult dog and not a puppy, this dog was tiny. It had short, tiny legs; a short, tiny torso; and a short, tiny neck to support its tiny head.

In the critical moment that we were waiting for the cars to stop whizzing past so we could cross, this minuscule head/neck combo proved to be nearly fatal to our four-legged friend. I watched in horror as the pup slipped out of his collar and commenced to walk about the street corner untethered, mere feet away from certain death-on-wheels.

Without thinking about it, I lunged for the thing. Cat-like (no pun intended) reflexes that, up until this moment, had never been in my repertoire of inherent talents, suddenly kicked in and I managed to grab it with both hands, saving it from its future fate as a skid-mark on the city asphalt.

I looked up at its owner, grinning like an idiot. I'd done it. The little feller was gonna be ok.

His reaction to my selfless heroism? He glared at me, grabbed the dog, put the leash back on, and made eyes at me until the light switched to "Walk". I swear I think  he thought I tried to steal his dog. He thought that I willed the leash and collar of his tiny neck with mind bullets in order to serve my own evil, dog-stealing purposes.

I wanted to run after him, to tell him I prefer my canines with a little more meat on their bones, that I wouldn't take his stupid tiny-necked pile of fur off his hands if he paid me, but by the time all of these responses had occurred to me, the moment had passed and I was running late for brunch. Those bottomless mimosas weren't going to drink themselves, after all.

I thought this was an isolated incident of ungratefulness and signature NYC cynicism, until...

Exhibit B:

Again, I was walking down a sidewalk (should probably avoid those at all costs as it's the most likely place to encounter horrible people, but I've found sidewalks pretty hard to elude). In front of me I noticed a woman with a baby stroller; the kind of woman who, in the previous post, I proclaimed so much pity for.

I noticed this woman's baby was playing with something white. It looked like it could be a favorite blanket, perhaps. Then, before my eyes, the baby dropped it. The mother didn't notice.

I immediately took it upon myself to save that child the trauma that would surely be the result of the loss of so precious a childhood relic. I grabbed for the blanket, simultaneously yelling desperately to the mother "Wait!"

Only, the white object was not, in fact, the baby's blankie. It was actually just a white plastic grocery store bag. And it was sticky.

The mother turned around, saw me holding this piece of trash for her child, and said in a tone that can only be described as half contemptuous, half amused "She don't need that. Picked it up about a block ago."

Then she turned her heel and walked off without so much as offering myself (or, more disturbing, her child) some Purell or even just one of those hand wipes I know mothers of infants are required by law to carry around in their purses.

Here in New York, it seems, no good deed goes unpunished. I guess I'm just going to have to learn to keep my hands to myself. That is, if I don't have to have them amputated because I've caught some deadly, flesh-eating disease from a misleading piece of refuse.

Sick. I seriously shudder at the memory.


  1. haha, that sucks. It's not like that in Shreveport.

  2. True story, Danny. Instances like these are my "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore" moments.

  3. I literally laughed out loud at " I prefer my canines with a little more meat on their bones, that I wouldn't take his stupid tiny-necked pile of fur off his hands if he paid me"

  4. Sometimes you get the same reactons here from people, as described in the first incident.

  5. Oh, New York, devouring souls on a daily basis.