25 Mar

And We Watch


Imagine, you’re on your way to a job interview. You’ve been shortlisted and rejected so many times you’ve almost given up. This time though, you feel good about it, you’re dressed in your best interview outfit and you feel like it might be the one.

You’re standing at the curb waiting for the light to change so you can cross the street. The crowd behind you surges and you feel yourself being pushed and you can’t stop it. You fall forward onto the street and as you fall, you look to your left and see the headlights of a small blue car bearing down on you. You hear it rather than feel it, like an out of body experience you see yourself flying through the air, cars, people and buildings roll before you like a movie reel.

The force of the collision shatters your bones. It breaks your skin and causes damage to your insides. You lie in the middle of the intersection, the cold wet pavement against your cheek, a warm sensation trickles down the back of your head. You’re still conscious but in shock. The world still moves around you in slow motion. As you watch the people on the streets, there’s a long pause, many have their phones out and are filming you, others are taking pictures – you realize for a brief moment that you’re the show.

You know they’re thinking about uploading you to the internet and sharing your pain. Some will add rants to show they’re caring individuals. Others will take it up as a cause to show the world that they’ve got some compassion. A few will upload simply because they want to be first to bring shock and awe to an already jaded audience. Then there are the ones who think it’s their job to report the news – as if a single person’s pain means anything to complete strangers. Few see it as their responsibility to get involved, it’s not their problem. Amazingly though, they see it as their right to capture and share.

As the world returns to real time, several people run towards you. There’s no phone in their hands, no thoughts about viral fame. They see another human being suffering and want to help. You’re a person just like them; you are family. They talk to you in soothing tones, ask how you feel and try to comfort you. The wail of an ambulance draws closer. You close your eyes and let go, you’re not alone anymore.