This has been a strange weekend all around. On Friday night Buzz went to have some bloke time with a friend and stayed the night there, meaning that this was our first night apart since our wedding more than ten months ago and perhaps our 5th or so since we started living together in lovely sin more than 2 1/2 years ago. I find it difficult to sleep without him, and so do our puppies. Sam barked loudly in the middle of the night which woke me up with a start as he rarely does so, and making fear that there was someone breaking in. No, he’d done a wee in the litter box and wanted a treat. Back to bed. The dogs and I slept strangely all night, waking up at 7:30 after much tossing and turning.
On Saturday morning I trooped over to my parents’ for a shower (we are still waiting for our new shower screen to be installed) and then met a friend and her gorgeous baby for a local coffee. We met so we could discuss her experiences with HypnoBirthing, and my reluctance about some of the more ‘earth mothery’ aspects of it. I learnt so much from her about how it worked and left feeling so much more enthused and reassured. We also talked about how women often don’t share their birth stories in detail, and particularly not the positive parts, so I really appreciated her sharing her whole experience with me and her advice on things I hadn’t even considered yet. I ended up enrolling in a CalmBirth course, and hope that the mind-settling and relaxation techniques will be a useful tool for us when the time comes. Thanks V!
The rest of Saturday I did a little bit of household organising with my new baskets, and spent far too long in front of the idiot box watching gems like Toddlers and Tiaras and eating biscuits. I did slip in a bit of Elvis in Girls! Girls! Girls! before the demand for football from Buzz could be ignored no longer. I felt disturbed and unsettled but a Facebook conversation that rattled me more than it should have.
And here’s where the weekend really took a funny turn. I went to bed at about 1:30am, and at 2am woke up to a loud bang. I asked Buzz what it was, and he shouted on his way out the door that it was a car accident and to call the police. I heard some shouting and yelling, and rang 000 as I pulled on shoes and a dressing gown to go outside.
On the other side of the road to our house, a car had gone through a front fence. I couldn’t see what else had happened, but Buzz looked quite calm as he talked to a couple I didn’t recognise. Going closer while still talking to the dispatcher, I could see that there were actually two cars in the front garden, one in front of the other and only narrowly missing the block of flats, but only two people waiting. After I completed the 000 call (and what a difficult job the dispatchers must have, and how well they do it), the couple standing with Buzz said that they had been followed from a neighbouring suburb, run off the road by the first car in the garden, and after they all crashed three men had jumped out shouting “Give us the money!”. The man of the couple tried to defend them both – Buzz says that when he first saw the scene, the man was holding a brick from the destroyed fence and brandishing it at the three attackers shouting “Someone’s going to die!” – and as Buzz approached then he chased two of them down the road while the other ran the other way. By the time I got there the man had returned and was bleeding heavily from the back of his head where he had been hit with a brick, and had a knife wound to his arm. I went inside to get a towel for his bleeding and water for them, feeling all the while that brandy would be most needed but least appropriate. The police arrived and called in the dog squad and helicopters to chase the three attackers, and the fire brigade and ambulance also arrived. After giving our names we were asked to go home so as not to confuse the dogs, so we left for a slightly shocked debrief with each other. As we went to bed, the helicopters circled low for at least an hour, and the dogs barked in the distance. The lights from the ambulance shone through our windows for over an hour.
Fitful hours later, we got up and I realised that what had scared me most was that we were the only neighbours to come out of our homes, except for another couple who lived on the other side of the block and had walked around. I know that some people are fearful of intervening – and if this had happened the night before when I was home alone I certainly wouldn’t have left the house before I had the police on the line, and I would have armed myself and maybe stayed on the other side of the road – but not even the next door neighbours or the people who lived in the block of flats that the cars almost hit came out, not even once the police had arrived. The woman of the couple who were attacked was screaming for someone to help them and call the police. If I ran out the front of my house screaming for help, I would like to think that someone would help me. Isn’t it part of our social contract to help one another? Don’t bad people feel they can get away with bad things in public because no one will say anything? I once saw a young boy in school uniform punch another in the face on a train platform, with literally hundreds of adults on the other platform watching. Not a single person except me said anything, and I yelled at him and sent Buzz over to stand with the boy who had been hit. Hundreds of adults and two young boys in uniform, and not even a shout or a call to the stationmaster. Only a short burst of bossy cross yelling settled them down; they certainly weren’t hooded thugs with shanks. They were 14 year old boys in blazers. How scared are we to allow this to happen? Every time a Good Samaritan is hurt we become more fearful to be decent citizens, and more outraged every time something happens as though there is no connection. But each time we choose not to help another person in need, bad people fear less and grow bolder, and good people allow it to happen. Twice now I have seen Buzz rush to someone’s aid without thinking, the first being when there was a fight upstairs in our old house, and I love him the more fiercely for it.
We debriefed further over breakfast with Buzz’s parents at a cafe, and a ritual trip to Bunnings later we are now on the couch, heater on, enwrapped in blankets with coffees and more biscuits. I am going to see Lady GaGa tonight and must soon face getting up, getting changed, and venturing into the rain and chill. A ‘monstrously’ fitting end to a strange and bizarre weekend.