Thursday, April 1, 2010

A lesson learnt - in Melbourne and Deloraine

Today’s post’s unrelated to April Fools’ Day. It’s a story in five parts:

1. Last 15 March, when darling Emily and I were walking to hear Sweetheart Vivienne’s Wheeler Centre reading, as we crossed Swanston Street a young woman cyclist crashed to the asphalt. Instantaneously, reflexly, darling Emily rushed to the shocked and grazed woman with her bike on the ground tangled – to help, reassure, sooth, sympathise. She assisted for 3-4 minutes. Meantime I, the big-time doctor, hung back 10 metres away, uninvolved, watching.

2. Yesterday morning as I worked in the clinic, Sweetheart Vivienne visited the nearby greengrocery. Browsing, she watched some tourists buying produce. They told the salesgirl they were visiting from Queensland. They were excited, hyper. The salesgirl returned them…nothing. No acknowledgement, no interaction, no affirmation, no empathy. Nothing. Just a cold, impersonal, buy-sell transaction.

3. After my work, as Sweetheart Vivienne and I walked up the hill to our vehicle, she told me of this experience an hour or less beforehand. I listened carefully. It resonated with me. It saddened me. I asked myself: ‘Why can’t people act warmly even when there’s no tangible return if they do?’

4. Near the British Hotel (pictured) we saw a knot of people huddled around an elderly (i.e. older than I) woman on the ground. She’d tripped, fallen and scraped her nose on the pavement. We rushed up to them. I ruled out significant injury. They were tourists. We helped, reassured, soothed, sympathised. We were self-evidently locals. I didn’t divulge I was a doctor. After helping the woman stand, we directed the group to the pharmacy. Job done. Well done.

5. Thank you darling Emily and Sweetheart Vivienne. I’m a better person for knowing you and seeing what wonderful human beings you are.

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