Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome to Yonkers

Monday as I was stepping in the shower (right around 2 in the afternoon) I looked out the little window in the shower (we can talk about how odd it is that every shower in this house has a small window another time) and in that section of glass underneath the blind I glanced and saw two kids at a house down the  hill from ours.  After a few minutes of watching them it dawned on me that they were stealing a bike from the neighbor's yard.  This neighbor isn't really a neighbor.  I have a good view of their house but they actually live on another block.  I thought that maybe it was just one of the kids who lives there (like most houses around here it's a multi-family home) but after just a minute or two of watching I realized that was probably not the case.

I froze.  I was in the shower and I didn't know what to do.

Earlier this month a man was pushed in front of a subway train by a deranged homeless man.  There were people on the platform who did nothing to help him.  He was killed.  A photographer took a picture of it happening and sold it to the Times.  It makes me sick.  I am still furious that no one tried to help him. On Monday--looking out the window of my shower I had a little more compassion for them.  I didn't know what was happening and I didn't know how to help.

Then I realized that I want to live in a neighborhood where people help one another.  Where, if someone sees another person stealing your bike (or even just behaving suspiciously) they call the police.  So I did that.  I stepped out of the shower and called the police (I have never called the police in my life).

Looking back at the experience I am sorry I didn't do more.  Shower or not, sleeping babies or not, I should have opened the window and started yelling and telling them I was calling the police.  And now I know better.  I am determined that even if I don't know how to act I'm going to do something.  I will not be part of a world where people who are pushed in front of trains are not helped.

Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little
--Edmond Burke 

1 comment:

  1. When I was in college (about 40 years ago), a woman was beaten to death in New York. Neighbors heard her screams and saw what was happening, but no one tried to help her. At the time I thought it was because it was in New York, but I have realized that it could have been anywhere. The challenge of our times is to care and be involved with others.