It seemed remiss of me not to at least ask.

“How’s he doin’ out there? He’s doin’ okay?” He didn’t look it, that’s for sure, laid out on the sidewalk as he was, facing the heavens, maybe twitching a little, a crowd gathering round. A skinny, bearded mass, sprawled out on musty nighttime pavement.

I was asking the woman who’d just stepped in. She wasn’t your first idea of a registered nurse: another soul looking somewhat down and out, olive skin tanned hard under an open vest, asking if I stopped by the Union Gospel Mission in Pioneer Square. She’d mistakenly left her bag on a bench down there fifteen minutes ago, and was hoping against hope. It’s Pioneer Square, sure, but… miracles have a way of happening in the worst places, too.

“Oh, I think he’s gonna be alright,” she said.
“I sure hope so. He doesn’t look too great, lying around like that. Good to see some folks steppin’ in.”
“And I’m a registered nurse, so,”
“Oh see there you go. Gosh, I’m glad you were hangin’ around! Nice uh you to lend your expertise!”
“Well, I leaned in to check vitals, and he starts cussin’ me out, ‘get outta my face,’ ‘get the fuck away from me,’ you know, and I’m all like, ‘okay, he’s fine!!”
“Ha! Yeah, that’s when you know they’re okay!”
“If they’re cussin’ you out, you know they’re gonna be fine. If they’re having trouble breathing, or they’re unresponsive, that’s one thing! But if they have the energy to actually be pissed off,”
“Which takes a lot of energy!”
“Oh yeah, he’s gonna be fiiiiiiine. He’s like, get away from me, you dumb bitch!”
“Oh jeez.”
“Hey, it’s cool. Means he’s okay!”
“Yeah, definitely gonna live. It’s like a car crash, if both people get out of their cars start yelling at each other, you know that means everything’s actually okay!”
“Exactly. If they were actually hurting, you wouldn’t hear anything. There would be nobody arguing!”

Profanity never sounded so good.

Previous articleHalloween Exposes the Benefits of Density
Next articleSunday Video: Bus Stop Balancing
Nathan Vass has had work displayed in over twenty photography shows, designed a book and three album covers, including two for Neil Welch. His “My Favorite Things” tour at Seattle Art Museum was the highest-attended such tour there. Nathan is also the director of eight films, four of which have shown at festivals, and one of which premiered at Henry Art Gallery. He owns a photography business, Two Photography, with Larry Huang, and has photographed a dozen-plus weddings. Born in South Central LA, he holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, and is also a prolific writer and sometime painter. Formerly a Hollywood resident, he still contributes film reviews to Erik Samdahl's site, Filmjabber. In addition, he holds a side job as a public bus driver, which he enjoys almost as much as directing films- if not slightly more so! He is a two-time winner of Metro’s Operator of the Month award and holds a record number of commendations.