Last night, I went for a run around Lake Hollywood (yes, there's a lake there - I didn't know this until about 5 years ago) and was wholly transported to a little alpine village somewhere with pine trees and deer (and sadly an audible coyote attack somewhere). It certainly didn't feel like I was minutes from the big white sign on the hill and the chaos of the city below.
This morning, however, I absolutely felt like I was in Hollywood.
I was rounding one of the sharper turns on the way down my street to Franklin when I came upon a car stopped in the middle of the road. A man in a van was coming toward us and I watched him slow and leer out his window. Irritated, as I usually am during my morning commute, I said something like, "Come on people what the hell is going on here?!"
Then I passed the stopped car on the left and noticed its driver.
Her eyes were closed and her forehead was pressed against the driver's side window.
I didn't even think twice (or think about going to knock on the window to see if she was ok) I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911.
I've never had to call 911 before and was kind of freaked out about actually doing it, but it seemed clear to me that the situation warranted it.
As I gave my location to the dispatcher and tried to explain what I had seen, I parked the car and began running up the hill toward the girl. By that time a few other people had gathered and two guys were banging on her window. No response.
It felt like forever that I was on that phone. The man on the other end of the line was so calm. He asked me to approach her and check to see if she was breathing. I saw her chest fall and rise and felt relieved. None of us spectators wanted to open her car door to take her pulse for fear that she'd come toppling out.
But then the dispatcher told me that we should try to get her out and onto the ground. My new friends Travis and Krishna who had been driving by, maneuvered the door open and laid her seat back, carefully holding her head straight so her airway didn't get restricted. They were just about to move her onto the pavement when we heard the screech of the ambulance.
The girl flopped like a rag doll as the paramedics extricated her. I never once saw her stir or open her eyes. One of the firefighters jumped in her car and moved it over to the curb.
"Is she going to be okay?" Travis asked.
"She'll be fine," one of the firemen told us. "It looks like she just had a little too much to drink and smoke last night."
Travis, Krishna and I shook hands and headed back to our cars. I felt like I needed a second application of deodorant.
Just another morning in Hollywood, I guess.