Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Running for Dear Life

I felt really bad today for one woman, as the last group of ferry riders hurried down the ramp to make it to our boat. It was 7:02am, plenty of time to make it, so no one was even running. Who wants to run while carrying a hot cup of coffee and carrying a 30 pound pack?

I walked down the chute, nonchalant, when I heard heavy breathing behind me, the telltale stabbing of a cane against the floor.

"Did they already do last call?" she asks.

"Yes," another woman answers.

"Dear God!" The woman's voice breaks in a high pitch squeal, the cane stabs faster as she hobbles down the ramp. I try to walk slowly, carefully, so she can see that I am not worried about missing the ferry. Woman, there is no need to be frantic. Please don't have a heart attack right here and now. Everyone else is going slow. You will be FINE.

The woman operating the ferry walkway must have sensed this woman's panic. Now her breathing is heavier, raspy. It sounds like her lungs might not hold out.

"It's OK," the ferry lady says calmly, "I'm not going to close the ramp. I'm watching you."

The lady with the cane makes a strange sound as she finally boards the boat, I can't tell if she is laughing or crying in relief. I feel sad for her. I wonder where she is going in Seattle that is so important. Is she sick? Does she have a loved one who is sick?

I feel like everyone on this boat is part of a tribe. We are all working together, watching each other get to our destination. It makes me sad when people who share my journey feel panicked or hurt. I remember one older man who fell while trying to get to the boat before it left. He boarded breathing hard, his nose scratched up and bloody. I wish all my tribesmates would just slow down, the ferry won't leave you behind.


Sue said...

Oh that is sad. But, I'm afraid, sometimes the ferry WILL leave running people behind, at least the Edmonds ferry does. That why Ian gets all bent out of shape when we're trying to catch it!

Dan-Eric Slocum said...

Kristin, I'm going to email you a piece I wrote on a similar scene I witnessed in downtown Seattle where a woman JUST MISSED a bus and I was left to watch her melt into tears.

It about caved me.

I'll find it and send it to you. Great writing-- I felt like I was with you on the ramp.

Colleen said...

How sad! I would hate to see that, too. Good story. I like your ferry stories :)