Hitting Ground While Listening To Bach

I never thought Bach would sadden me. I have no doubt if I listened to a live performance of the Brandenburg Concertos, those would bring me to tears, simply because they are so heavenly, and that’s where I go when I listen to them… heaven on earth. 

But this morning, while listening to the Orchestral Suite #3 – Air On The G String – I was overcome by sadness, as I looked out my window.

There is a narrow midway dividing either side of the street I live on. I can see people throughout the day who have severe addiction health issues. Sometimes it’s terrifying to witness the extent of the toll addiction takes on the mind and the body. But the centers follow a specific protocol (as does the Police department) before they can intervene.

Once the center has closed, for example, Powell provides security 24hrs, but not because why you may think so. They are there to protect those who travel along the street, throughout the night, those whose behaviors show symptoms of distress. However, they cannot force those persons to go to the hospital, unless they have their consent. They cannot intervene unless the person is on the ground, immobilized. That’s when they can administer the medication they carry in their vests at all times. 

Once a police officer arrives at the scene, that officer determines whether the person is coherent by their answers to several specific questions. This assessment determines whether the person can be forcibly taken to the hospital. If their answers are coherent, even within a narrow window of time, five minutes, for example, then no further action can be taken.  

But one cannot ignore the irony and cruelty of others, the strangers who take their evening stroll, the mist they protect themselves with. They do not see what is happening around them. Those persons, the undesirable ones, have been cast with a special role in their minds. They are the invisible ones. And so they keep walking. Best to keep walking away from them.

Throughout the day, however, when the recovery center is active, if a person exhibits troubling symptoms, they can call an ambulance, but the person, however far away, barely coherent, must still consent to be taken to the hospital. That’s when the paramedics show up. There are exceptions, of course, like violence does not require consent. 

Persuasion is a skill based on patience and empathy and exercised jointly between Powell staff and paramedics. In all fairness, though, one cannot deny rare moments that cannot be ignored. There is sometimes a certain level of humor present. Within that mass of confusion and distorted thinking swirling in the air, so spontaneous and uninhibited, renders others unable to resist a smile.

Traffic is brisk throughout the day, from early morning until night. And there is never a dull moment on my street. When I hear sirens, I already know their destination. Someone is in distress next door.

But back to this morning.

Early this morning, I caught a glimpse of a man pacing back and forth who was wearing headphones. I have no idea what he was listening to, if anything.

But that’s not what captivated my attention. It was his posture, his body in motion, that I could not resist watching. His head was stooped and so were his shoulders and no matter how many times he paced his posture never changed. And I wondered if this was how he experienced life. And the tension between him and Bach connected in a way I had never imagined.