The Intern: Volume VII

Two awkward calls from a good samaritan in four days

Rounding the corner of Wyoming onto Spain at around five in the evening, I discovered a man laying, not in any place of minimal comfort, but in a bed of rocks under the sign to my apartment complex. There has been a lot of press lately about Albuquerque’s diminished capacity to shelter and provide a home for les sans-abri, but this man was not homeless. His tool belt was filled with screw drivers, wrenches and a hammer, indicating to me he had a job. He also wore nice jeans with a tucked-in shirt and a belt and his new-looking hat and sun glasses on the ground next to him. Maybe he had been mugged.

How, on the bustling corner of Spain and Wyoming with the thousands of cars going by each day? He did not appear to be physically harmed—no scratches on his face and no blood. Perhaps he was drunk or high? But there were no bottles or paraphernalia of any kind to be seen.

I walked on by.

Then, I turned around. What a strange situation—a handyman, literally just lying around on the job, on a busy street, on top of a bunch of uncomfortable rocks. Something must be wrong, so I headed back to the corner.

“You OK, buddy?” I said.

No response.

“Hey buddy, what’s the matter? You didn’t get jumped did you?” I tapped his slumped shoulder with the tip of my sandal.

“Harshisfarshisnanannaaaa.mlsf. Leave me alone.”

“Alright, what ever you want …”

“Harshishfainsenndfogasnjfsdffaaa”

“You have a good one”

So I called 911 to tell them there was a guy who needed to be taken to a homeless shelter. They promptly told me to call the homeless shelter, for which they gave me the number. It was the first time I had ever called an emergency number, and I haven’t seen the guy since.

Then, come Monday—deathly Monday. I was waiting for the Rapid Ride on Central when this guy mumbled to me “I’m blacking out, call an ambulance.”

“What?” I said.

But he just closed his eyes and started mumbling about his kidneys. I called 911 and told them a fifty-something year-old man told me he was blacking out and started complaining about his kidneys.

“You just wait right there,” the operator told me.

The response was impressive, to say the least. In less than five minutes two ambulances and a gigantic red fire truck screetched into the McDonald’s parking lot behind the bus stop. I even caught the next Rapid Ride.

I don’t know if these types of things happen to other people, or just innocent Midwesterners with summer internships, but now 911 is programmed into my speed dial.