Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stumble, you might fall

Yesterday I was walking down the street when I saw a lady trip over the door frame as she exited a shop. I lurched forward as she did, and she apologised to me when she immediately got her footing back, and I carried on walking.

The thing is, I first thought that it was odd that I jumped forward in order to catch this lady from falling, as that is really not my way. Not that I'm a bastard, but jumping to action just doesn't sound like me. So I thought about it closer. I saw her take a step, I saw her catch a foot on the door frame and that foot twist half inwards, I saw her arms jerk up to catch herself and her hands go palm forward to cushion her fall. I saw all of that, as if in slow motion. So I went back and checked my internal logs for each part of my body, and see what I was doing while she was doing what she was doing. I discovered the strangest thing. When her foot twisted, I felt empathy and imagined what tripping was like. And my foot twisted. And my arms went up. And my palms were forward. I'm pretty sure I even let out a little gasp. So upon retrospection, I think I unconsciously mimicked her tripping. I think I saw her do something and instead of reacting to what she was doing, I simply remembered what it was like to do it myself and accidentally did that. Hmm.

I wonder if maybe it's just that wherever she goes, people copy her. I mean she did say sorry straight away so maybe she's used to it. Or maybe it's some weird curse she's living under. Or maybe I'm just too empathetic. Or stupid. Who knows.