So I’m walking down the street Wednesday (circa 6 pm) untangling difficult Talmudic passages in my head when I come upon an old lady kneeling in the grass. She’s in high heels but one shoe is off. Her bags are scattered around her.
Just beyond her is an attractive young woman with a dog.
What do I do?
What would the Torah say?
"Are you OK?" I ask the old lady.
"I can’t get up," she says.
"Are you OK?"
"I can’t get up."
"Do you need an ambulance?"
The girl with the dog looks in my direction and I wave her over.
"Where do you live?" I ask the lady.
She points nearby.
"Would you like me to help you up?"
She seems to be Russian.
I grab her around the waist and lift her up. She totters on her feet.
The girl with the dog comes over.
I ask for her help picking up the packages.
Her dog starts eating the old lady’s food.
She finally picks up all the packages and my Seraphic Secret man purse.
We ask the lady if she has family or a doctor.
She says she has a daughter and a doctor at UCLA.
"Who could we call for you?" I ask.
She says her daughter.
The dog girl dials her cell phone and gives it to the old lady.
She has a brief uninspiring conversation with her daughter.
"She says the people who picked me up can take me home. Oh, how I hate her. I want to move out."
After five minutes, the old lady gets her other shoe on.
I ask her if she would like me to carry her.
Normally chicks dig this.
She says she’s too heavy.
I feel like telling her I’ve hauled around the likes of Holly Randall but am not sure she’d get the reference with its weighty significance.
I hold her up from behind and we awkwardly dance down the street.
She lives about 100 yards away.
"I have a circulation problem," the lady explains.
I bring her to the door.
It is opened by this hot young blonde with an annoyed look on her face.
Her "Thank you" is perfunctory. No enthusiasm. No emotion.
I hate that about hot blonde chicks. They are just so cool and unimpressed with me.
If only she’d known I was once Hustler magazine’s Asshole of the Month.
There is no offer to massage my aching back. No entreaty to relieve my tension. No invitation to have dinner. No scrap of paper with her phone number. Nothing.
Kindly Jews such as myself just can’t get no love these days.
I help the lady inside.
I ask them both if they need any help.
They say no.
They are clearly unhappy with each other but I close the door on them and walk out with dog girl.
"My name is Levi," I say.
"Natalie," she says.
We don’t shake because I’m so religious.
We go our separate ways.
What should I have done in this situation? I felt like I was in a moral quandary. There were so many degrees of complexity. I didn’t want to be a pushy Jew yet I didn’t want to stand by when the situation cried out for action, yet it didn’t seem appropriate for me to stroke anyone’s hair and say it is so soft and then move in for the first kiss.