This is Not a Drill!

This morning on my way to work, a young girl, no more than nine and a half, wearing a gray plaid jumper and crisp white blouse and dragging a dog leash, darted out into traffic.

Immediately, as if we had been preparing for this day our entire lives, as if we’d gone through drills and contingency plans to prepare for this precise moment, four drivers made a circle around the intersection, cutting off flow to all traffic. Three men jumped from their vehicles and cornered a fleeing Yorkshire Terrier. Another man and woman exited their cars and lay hold of the terrified girl. I, myself, floated above the scene like some great spirit seeing, and hearing and smelling and tasting and feeling and absorbing and contextualizing and interpreting. And through all of it, not one single person tooted his horn. Not one impatient soul who was too far back to see what the hold-up was tried to pull out onto the shoulder to pass. There we were, all of us, prepped and ready to handle this emergency and deliver the child and pup back to safety.

Those whose job it was to stand guard, stood guard. Those whose job it was to give chase, gave chase. Those whose job it was to pray to a higher power, prayed. And hers whose job it was to observe and scribe down has done so and is now placing it before you, gratefully, on this cool, peaceful autumn afternoon.