I went out last night, to celebrate some good things, and burn off the stress of some bad things.
The good things are headed by the fact that my auntie decided to drop her lawsuit against my mother and promised never to do it again, which is cool twice. First and foremost, it is cool because it means that my grandmother will be able to close out her tab at home, instead of heaven's waiting room, as Dorothy would have had it, given her druthers. (The self-righteous bee-yatch would have seen to it that grandma was "properly cared for" in some place with a PC description like "senior care center" or "retirement home") The secondary cool is that the sale of the house across the street from grandma's can finally be completed, which will itself be redundantly cool by virtue of : 1 - the cash from the sale itself, and 2 - the relief of no longer having to manage a rental property in Belle Glade. Additional and unrelated joy is mine by virtue of the facts that I am finding my new job most enjoyable in and of itself, and that I am being rather generously compensated for it. There are more good things going on, but I don't want to jinx myself any more than I already have.
So, those are the good things I was celebrating last night.
As I said, I also went out to burn off the stress of some bad things. The bad things are really only one bad thing, and that is that my grandmother is dying, and that sucks. It's not sudden or unexpected by any means, but nonetheless, it sucks out loud. She's 96, and so clearly has broken the hell out of the curve, probably when she blew past her life expectancy several years before she even bothered to retire from being a school principal. By any reasonable standard, she's been on bonus time for a decade or more, so the fact that she's burning out so fast now can hardly be called unfair.
But again, I digress. I'm not posting about that stuff. I'm posting about what happened at the end of the night. Once Respect's had shut down, I was hanging out out front with Mike, who was working the door, making sure no-one new came in, due to the aforementioned "end of the night". So up staggers this chick, too nicely dressed and middle aged, looking for diversion. She is rebuffed at the door, and takes offense at Paul's advice to get a cab instead of driving home. She flounces off, looking for her car. I do some math, and catch up with her. I walk with her for a while, ostensibly to help her find her car, but actually to get her into a taxi. We meander about for a bit, and I manage to talk her out of her keys. After a while, it becomes clear that neither of us has anything like a viable notion of her car's whereabouts, so I suggest that she take a cab, pointing out that the streets aren't particularly safe after the clubs have closed, especially for a physically attractive, wealthy looking little blonde woman who is clearly inebriated. At that point, she remembers the offense she took the last time such a suggestion was made, and wants her keys back.
So this is where it gets interesting, at least from a moral point of view... I can either hand over keys, or not. Since I am also pretty drunk and aware that my judgment is impaired, I recuse my fore brain from the decision making process and go with my gut, which says to get the bitch into a cab ASAP. I manage to keep her keys in my hand while I hail a cab for her, after explaining to her that she's not getting her keys back until she's settled into the back seat of something with a meter and a driver. She's pretty pissed at me for what I'm doing, and understandably so, but there's really nothing she can do about it as she's half my size, too drunk to even walk straight, and aware that getting the cops involved would be foolish in the extreme. I hailed a cab, got her into the back of it, and tricked her into giving the driver her address by mispronouncing the street name, which she couldn't resist correcting me on. (Damn, I'm good.) Finally, I gave her the keys, and headed for my own car, congratulating myself for having done the right thing, and thereby jinxing myself most thoroughly. As I checked both ways before crossing the street (it's always a good idea, damnit, especially just after the clubs have closed on St. Patrick's day), I saw her get out of the cab, and head off down the road. I thought about going after her, but decided that I had fulfilled my duty as a decent human being by getting her into the cab, and having done that, was no longer responsible for her safety. So I walked to my car, and went home.
Looking back, I don't think it would have been wise to press the issue, as I could easily have been seen as accosting her, which could have gone all kinds of wrong. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder about the final outcome. The most likely result, of course, is that she managed to find her car and made it safely home, as drunk drivers usually do. I'll probably never know for sure, and honestly, I don't care enough about her to go to any lengths to find out. But I am uncertain as to what degree I would be theoretically to blame if she was accosted by one of the various bipedal predators who frequent the area before finding her car, or made it to her car, only to cause an accident en route to her home.
On the one hand, I did more than one would expect of a stranger in that situation. On the other, I very clearly could have done more when I saw that she had exited the cab, thereby putting herself in the same position as before. I know what I think, which is that I did the right thing both by helping at first, and then by not stepping back in after she decided to leave the taxi.
Just out of curiosity, what do you think? Should I have gone after her or not? Also, if it should turn out that she either injured or killed someone or was herself injured or killed as a direct result of my letting her go, do I share some part of the responsibility?