May 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Is there anything more ordinary than a woman going to a hair salon? Usually you feel better when leaving, having been pampered, pruned and plied with minty-smelling products. What began as an ordinary routine turned extraordinary in a matter of minutes.

I had just done a final hair check, paid for services rendered, tipped the beauticians, said good bye, opened the door and took a few steps out of the salon. Suddenly, out of nowhere, rubber tires smashed headlong into me, and I felt myself going down. The next minute, I was sprawled on the sidewalk, looking up blankly, the wind totally knocked out of my lungs. Meanwhile, never getting a clear look at the person who was riding the bicycle on the sidewalk, I heard a distinctive child’s voice. It was a scared voice, saying over and over, “Lady, are you okay? I’m sorry.” Then, he beat a hasty retreat. Later I was told that the boy who rammed into me also fell off his bicycle, but didn’t seem to be hurt.

It was like Humpty Dumpty who had a great fall, when I and my scattered sunglasses and purse were scooped up off the ground and led to the couch back in the salon. I was shocked by the impact of the bicycle, but I remember thinking that my new prescription sunglasses were probably ruined and then feeling my teeth to see if they were all present and accounted for. Trying to get back to the beauty business was difficult, because everyone was shaken up and wondered what to do next with me. While lying on the couch and in a haze, I heard people talking in nervous low voices—“Is she okay? Maybe we should take her to the hospital?” It’s surreal and spooky when people are talking as if you’re not there—you can hear them clearly, but don’t have the strength to speak.

Finally, after about a half hour of lying on the couch in the beauty salon, I looked down to assess the damage. Nasty cuts and bruises spotted my arms, legs, hands and chin. Thankfully, this Humpty Dumpty got up and walked around, but I was decidedly a mess despite my freshly done hair. Although I was walking and talking, it was obvious that driving was out of the question. I needed some help getting up and out. My help came in the form of a lovely woman who came into the salon and to my rescue. This person took an immediate interest and came over to the couch, checked my cuts and bruises which were quickly morphing into a red rash of ugliness. Then this wonderful stranger said, “You can’t drive home like this. When you’re ready I’m going to drive you back. Leave your car here.” She led me to her car, asked several pointed questions which seemed to be a way to gauge whether I was “with it” enough to go home or be driven to the hospital.

But, here’s the thing that’s most unforgettable: when she drove up the driveway, she said, “Do you mind if I come in with you to make sure you’re okay?” So, she escorted me to the kitchen where she wrote her name and phone number on my notepad and said to call if I needed anything. And this was someone who I didn’t know an hour ago!

Over the next few days, sore and swathed with an assortment of bandages, I was the subject of some interesting reactions while walking around town. There were some of the outward concerned type—“What happened to YOU?” Or, oblique glances, and then came a text. I saw you in Lazy Bean getting some coffee, what happened to your hand? Finally, after my bruises healed, it was important for me to connect personally with the person in the salon. Looking back in my notebook, I saw the name and number. She was happy to hear from me but asked me not to use her name, which didn’t surprise me. When I asked about her thoughts when she saw me, “It was scary, you looked so pale and pretty scratched up.” We then spoke about the child who was riding the bicycle so fast on the sidewalk, and how parents need to caution their children about riding bicycles on the sidewalk and the possible danger of hurting pedestrians. When I thanked her for the chesed of helping me through a bad situation she replied, “Wouldn’t everyone do that?” I really hope so.

It seems that this incident in a way parallels the month of Elul. In Elul, we rise up from a difficult month of Av, and blow the shofar to celebrate a new year and a fresh start. Life can change unexpectedly, in a flash. There are times we feel helpless, like Humpty Dumpty, and are down for the count. But, we can lift each other up along the way, and strangers can become friends.

Like my optimistic Bubbee always said (think thick, Yiddish accent), “One day not so good, and the next day better.”

Esther Kook is a Teaneck resident. She’s a reading teacher, tutor and freelance writer.

By Esther Kook

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles