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