Dead Guy on the Curb

Shortly after discovering Stoney’s yesterday, Chris and I walked back to the Zipcar I had been driving earlier in the day. When I stopped for gas earlier, I had accidentally left the gas card in my pocket instead of returning it to the visor pouch where it belongs. Fortunately, cognizant that such things happen, Zipcar permits you access to the vehicle you rented for up to two hours after your reservation is over - as long as nobody else has taken the car, of course.

Fortunately, it was still there. I returned it, locked the car, and walked out of the alley where it is parked. That’s when we noticed him. Across the street from us was a man laying sprawled on the curb, his legs dangling in the gutter, sprawled like he had simply fallen. Chris and I exchanged glances and walked towards him. My gut reaction was that there was a random dead guy on the street.

As we approached, I saw that he was still breathing. His dress and hygiene made it apparant he was homeless, but it seemed unlikely even a homeless person would be laying in that place and posture of their own volition. We tried to wake him up, without success: “Sir, are you okay? Sir?”

Finally, I stood up and dialed 911.

“DC 911 Emergency. Police, ambulance, or fire?” asked the lady on the other end.

“Ambulance,” I replied.

“Okay, sir. What’s your location?”

“I’m in the middle of the street, on O Street Northwest between…”

At this point, perhaps hearing the word “ambulance,” the man on the curb sat up.

“Oh! He’s moving. He’s getting up. I think he’s okay.”

“There’s no emergency?”

“No ma’am, I think everything’s okay. Thank you.” And I hung up.

At this point, the no-longer-dead and no-longer-injured man became belligerent. Still sitting on the curb, he started yelling - half at us, half at the empty street - that he was just waiting for the bus, and can’t a man wait for the bus in peace? As if to emphasize his point, he gestured at a sign he was sitting next to - undermining the point though, was the text on the sign reading “Please curb your dog.” He went on about how all the “drunk whities who are wandering all over” the neighborhood, but we go and call the cops on a black man.

He scoffed when we tried to explain that we thought he was injured or sick and were calling an ambulance, again accusing us of calling the cops on him. At this point, Chris got a little angry, and told him that he was stupid for thinking this was about color or race. The gentleman stood up and took a step towards us, asking us if we wanted to “bawl.”

At this point, Chris openly laughed at him, and we walked away. Never a dull moment.