Near Miss

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I was at the food bank one morning in early fall. The air was chilly and snow was predicted, so the organizers of the food distribution had moved what was usually an outdoor activity into the church.

Usually all of us poor folks gathered on the north side of the church, picked up our numbers to mark our places in line, and waited around for our turn to gather our food. I always tried to find a spot in the shade to wait, either sitting on one of the folding chairs set against the side of the building or in a patch of gravel a little ways from the crowd. I usually brought a few postcards to write while I waited for my number to be called.

On this day, I found everyone waiting on the south side of the church, near the door we would enter when our time came. There were only a few folding chairs set out, and they were all taken by ladies older than I was.

I looked around for a patch of shade. Even on a chilly day, the sun beating on my head makes me feel week and ill. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my sunhat.

I found a shady spot in front of a car in the row of parking spots along the front of the building. I sat down on the railroad tie barrier in front of the car since I didn’t want to sit in the gravel between the parking area and the sidewalk. Some ladies stood on the sidewalk parallel to the gravel area in front of me These ladies were at a right angle to the entrance door. They faced the sidewalk that led to the entrance door. That bit of concrete slanted slightly uphill, to make it easier for someone using a wheelchair to get to the door.

I was busy writing to my sibling when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman approach from my right. She walked slowly, as if her legs were stiff or maybe she was in pain. When she approached the women standing at a right angle to the entrance, she stepped off the concrete to go around them. While they weren’t totally blocking the sidewalk, they were taking up most of it. I’m sure the approaching woman thought it would be easier to step off the sidewalk and go around them.

Something went wrong when the woman tried to step onto the sidewalk perpendicular to where the other women were standing. I think the walking woman failed to see that she needed to take a small step up. Because of the sidewalk’s incline, the part she tried to step on was about three inches above ground level.

Of course, I didn’t witness any of this prelude to what happened next. I had to piece it all together later.

The lady must have hit her foot on the concrete, and she stumbled. I heard a panicked voice shout, Watch out! I looked up in time to see a wide polar-fleeced butt descending upon me. I reflexively reached out my hand and used it to prop up the woman’s butt. It was an act equal parts Good Samaritan and self-preservation.

While I was supporting the woman from below, one of the ladies standing near the entrance door grabbed the falling women by the arm. Our combined efforts set the falling woman back on her feet.

For God’s sake, Nancy! one of her friends sitting in a folding chair exclaimed.

As soon as I could, I jumped up from my seat on the railroad tie. I worried the witnesses might think the near catastrophe was my fault even though I was well off the sidewalk. I suspected the elderly ladies thought I was the one at fault because I was the freak sitting low to the ground.

I tried to stand on the sidewalk behind the ladies by the door, bu the sun was beating down on me there. I ended up moving behind a minivan casting a shadow, a place were I could stay out of the sun and wouldn’t be crushed in an old lady pile up.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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