New York City is not a cold place


I had just crossed 34th Street at Park Avenue en route to the subway. Something made me look back to the north side of the street. That’s when I saw her.

The woman was lying on the sidewalk, her body stiff and twitching. I ran back across the street. I don’t remember checking for traffic.

While another woman called 911, I dropped to the sidewalk next to the woman who was still seizing, her lips turning blue.

“We need to turn her on her side so she doesn’t choke,” I said, sticking my knee behind her back to keep her that way.

Her companion looked at me and asked “¿Español? No English.”

“Poquito,” I said. A little.

My Spanish vocabulary is maybe fifty words. I should really take a refresher class.


“No, no!” the woman proclaimed vehemently. She understood the word epilepsy.

“Está bien,” I said, trying to sound soothing. It’s OK. I must have said that phrase fifty times in an hour.

*   *   *

A crowd had gathered and kind strangers were offering to help. Blessedly, a bilingual man stepped forward. Together we gathered details.

The woman having a seizure was named Amparo. She and her sister were visiting from Colombia. Somehow I never did get the sister’s name.

The sister speculated that the 30 degree day had caused Amparo’s seizure. The man and I were skeptical, but didn’t argue. We aren’t doctors or nurses.

*   *   *


Amparo started to come around. I held one of her gloved hands and her sister held the other. We both said está bien a lot.

Amparo’s sister wanted to move her somewhere warm, but the rest of us were worried about moving her. She couldn’t sit up on her own, much less walk. 

Confused, Amparo looked up at the crowd that had gathered, her eyes seeming to search, but she either couldn’t speak or just didn’t.

We waited for the ambulance. Sitting on the cold pavement, it felt like a long wait, but was probably more like fifteen minutes.

A fire truck arrived first and after a few more minutes, the paramedics. Of the ten or so men emerging from the two vehicles, they said none spoke Spanish.

There was a late-breaking rumor of an English-speaking, NYC-dwelling niece coming to the scene. The plan was to load Amparo into the ambulance to warm up, but not to leave just yet.

“We’ll manage,” the paramedics said.

“Just whatever you do, don’t leave her,” I said pointing to Amparo’s sister.

*   *   *


I gave the sister my cell phone number and a hug. She started crying. This can’t be what she expected from their trip to the big city.

I wanted to tell her how much I wished this crowd of concerned strangers could take away some of the day’s fear. That we could give her new memories of NYC. But I didn’t have the words.

Instead when she was calm, I just said “está bien,” one last time before making my way to the subway and the warmth of home.

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My twenty questions about @serial

This post contains spoilers so if you aren’t listening to Serial now, but might, stop reading!

It was @courtyforrest who first told me about Serial, the podcast presently sweeping the world. Courtney has made me aware of other good stuff in the past so I tuned in soon after.

I forget what I was doing while simultaneously listening to Serial Episode 1 in which host Sarah Koenig lays out both what Serial will be and the details of a closed case in Baltimore County involving the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee.

Via Reddit

Continue reading

I went to London

London is awesome.

Even sick. I sampled the United Kingdom’s very best over-the-counter drugs.

Sick tableau

It could have been worse. I was the kind of sick you work through, not sick in bed. When I wasn’t working, I snapped a few photos.

I stayed at the elegant Landmark in Marylebone, and enjoyed meals at Roka, The Grazing Goat, and Coco Momo. And for the most part, I paid a pretty penny–London is not cheap!

Twitter Spotlight: Prad Patel

I had already done a first draft of Londoner Prad Patel‘s Twitter Spotlight when something really cool happened: I got sick in London.

OK, that’s not the cool part (at all). The cool part is that Prad did a very sweet thing and sent me a care package at my London hotel.

Care package

Prad’s profile was already one of my favorites since I started featuring people I enjoy following on Twitter in that his answers were thorough and interesting and really made me think.

Twitter friends are real and don’t you doubt it.


OneChicklette: Your favorite qualities in a love interest

@pradip: A sense of adventure – I’m great at causing trouble or doing things which are risky, or which most people would blink twice at. Being around someone who doesn’t have that fear and is happy to hold my hand as I take a plunge is definitely what ticks my boxes.

OneChicklette: Your chief characteristic (one word) Continue reading

I love tee vee (just not British TV)

*Downton Abbey excluded.

I’ll never be one of those people who say dismissively “oh, I don’t watch television.” (Or worse, “I don’t own a television.”)

In fact, I can’t even see myself ever giving up cable even though it’s all the rage to do so in favor of some combination of Hulu and Apple TV and online…like, stuff. So much of my TV viewing is done passively–my beloved Law & Order marathons on in the background while I work, blog, sleep, read and pretty much anything else.

Here in London, I’ve been struggling to find something to have on in the background during the times when I’m at my hotel. An American might think British TV would be all Masterpiece Theatre 24/7, right? Continue reading