As I crossed a street in my neighborhood this weekend, a group of 4 or 5 vibrant little girls were skipping toward me, and we smiled at each other. They’re future alpha women, especially the one who seemed like the leader of the pink-and-purple-clad pack. On the other side of me, there was a guy zooming around on his motorbike without a helmet. My ability to accurately size people up very quickly has become legendary within my social network, and I could tell he was trouble.
Less than 20 seconds later, I heard a big bad noise. I turned around and saw 2 of the little girls I’d just been smiling with lying in the middle of the street.
The motorbiker scampered off, on foot, taking the bike with him. Some of the eyewitnesses chased and tried to grab him so he wouldn’t get away. If I could run as fast as I could 5 years ago, I would have joined them. They couldn’t run as fast as I could 5 years ago either - the motorbiker was the fittest of us all and I think he did end up outpacing them. While all of this was going on, another guy (who I also immediately sized up as trouble) emerged from a car and started to wheel the now-abandoned motorbike away, to aid and abet the motorbiker - until he got chased too.
The head alpha girl had been hit the hardest. Although she might have a broken arm, she was conscious and there was no blood. Her mom and the other little girls levelheadedly took care of business while waiting for the ambulance. The cops caught the motorbiker, who didn’t so much as glance in the direction of the crash site when he limped past it.
It’s remarkable how many people are able to keep their cool in the face of a sudden life-or-death catastrophe. When news reporters interview someone who has just pulled a family member’s body out of an earthquake’s rubble or someone whose friend got blown up by a car bomb an hour earlier, I’m often stunned by how little hysteria there is.
Not even 30 minutes later, I ran into 2 of the girls from the original group in the pasta aisle of the grocery store (their skipping had been resumed). When I asked them if they were okay, they nodded and looked up at me as if I were the one in need of some looking after.