U dropped me off and went to park the car, remarking as I climbed out that an ambulance had just driven by in the wrong direction down the narrow-one way lane in front of my apartment building. "An ambulance?" I remarked, and looked up to see the reflection of flashing red lights in the windows of the first floor apartments. I didn't give it a second thought, however, as I headed to my apartment to put on the kettle for a warm cup of tea to warm up a bit before U headed off on the 90 minute drive back to his place. I was a little surprised then, to see dark marks on the concrete path approaching my building. In the dark night they just seemed like muddy smudges - much like the ones left outside my door the other morning by the gardening crew.
I took another step, however, and there was another mark, bigger than the one before and... well... not really muddy looking. Most importantly it didn't look mud coloured. My immediate thought was that it was the exact same colour as the raspberry jam I had had on my peanut butter toast for breakfast (I've never been a pb&j fan, but this raspberry is really tart and just puuuuurfect with pb... anyways, sidetrack... where was I?? ahhh, yes, sidetracked... again!) My next thought was that it was a waste of jam. That raspberry stuff was a present I received in an itty-bitty jar. Not many pb&js worth.
Yes. Honestly, I'm standing there on the path to my apartment, looking at large wet red splotches on the pavement and thinking that it is a waste of JAM! uh huh. Wondering how and why somebody spilt jam all over the path. In a country that doesn't eat a whole lot of jam. Especially the older male population - who if presents from strangers on trains are anything to go by, live on a diet of rubbery dried fish and mikan oranges... (and another sidetrack... it is really a wonder that I manage to write papers for school, what with my apparent inability to stick with one thought for more than a few sentences!!)
I took another step, however, and as I saw another, again bigger puddle, I suddenly thought "I really really really hope that is not blood!" Another step, another splotch and... yeah... that IS blood...
All my years of first aid training kicked into gear and I immediately....
turned into a wimp! My first thought was "EEEEEEEEWWWWW!! YUUUUUUUUCK!" and I made a run for it - dashing past the door where the blood puddles stopped, unlocked my door and locked it behind me.
As I slammed shut the door to my apartment I heard the door of the apartment two doors down open, and my already overactive imagination hit over gear...visions of crazy knife-wielding maniacs - or at the very least a mean old obaachan intent on revenge for garbage infractions (which, for those of you who live in Japan realize can be just as scary!!)
Through the paper-thin walls I could hear the ambulance attendants as they rushed to the apartment (my conscience quietened down as soon as I realized there were experts on the scene and thus I could hide in my apartment without the guilt of wondering if I should be helping) and began speaking with the old guy (the one who seems to enjoy standing on his balcony and hawking up a nice lungful of phlegm from about 5am until well past 11pm). He seemed to be trying to tell them he did not need help, and they kept repeating requests for him to keep pressure on the wound.
The ambulance guys were young and very polite. Politely requesting the guy to maintain pressure on the hankie held to his wound. Politely asking his permission to enter the apartment. Politely asking him to sit on the stretcher. Politely pointing out that with the amount of blood he had (and was continuing to) loose, that walking to the hospital on his own two feet was not a good idea. Politely apologizing to U (who was trying to get by) for blocking the path.
I relaxed a bit - no axe murderers or grannies with on a mission of vengeance - just a stubborn old guy. And stubborn he is! It took the ambulance guys a good 15 minutes to convince him to get onto the stretcher and be wheeled to the ambulance waiting around the corner.
Meanwhile since the ambulance guys, the old injured guy, and a few neighbourhood busybodies were all blocking the path leading to the apartment, U could not get in. He made a valiant attempt at a Romeo type assent over the aloe bushes and into my balcony, but in the end had to settle for waiting till the old guy lost enough blood to become docile enough to be coaxed onto the stretcher and wheeled off. U then dodged the puddles of blood and came in for his tea...
So that was the end to my Culture Day (today is a national holiday in Japan - Bunka no hi, or "Culture Day"). Anybody else have an exciting day?