Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Night Out


I went to the Winter Park Police Department (500 North Virginia Avenue, Winter Park) for National Night Out. This was a free family community event that offered food, fun, raffles and prizes. I arrived straight from work on a cloudy grey Tuesday. The street in front of the police department was blocked off and a food vendor had just set up a tent. A Monster Energy Drink pickup truck pulled up behind him. Volunteers in red T-shirts helped get things set up. A blue armored vehicle backed onto the sidewalk with several officers spotting him. I sat on a stone bench and sketched the September 11th Memorial. A woman approached to see what I was doing. She said the police chief was going to display a broken fragment from the twin towers at this event. She then offered me the opportunity to buy one of the memorial paving stones. I never did see the tower fragment but part of me really didn't want to see it.

It began to rain and I had to run for cover. I added color to the sketch from my new vantage point under an awning. Since my car was many blocks away and I didn't want to walk in the rain without an umbrella, I started sketching the assault rifles, hand guns and battering rams being exhibited by members of the swat team. People could try on the heavy green flack jacket and even lift a rifle to see how heavy it was. There were always people in front of this table.

I experienced a sudden hot flash and I lost feeling in my finger tips. My arms were soaked with sweat and I dropped my sketchbook. I put my head in my hands and willed the pavement into focus as a woman got her hair caught in the Velcro of the flack jacket. Friends were laughing at her plight and shooting pictures. I got a bottled water out of a cooler next to me and used it to cool my neck and forehead. I began to panic. I didn't want my last sketch to be of fire arms. Then I realized there must be a half a dozen EMTs at the event. If I was going to pass out, this was probably the best place to do that. I slowed my breathing and drank the bottle of water. I realized walking in the rain might cool me off so I packed away the sketchbooks and walked back to my car. The rain did feel good. I managed to drive home but I wasn't feeling great. I crashed on the couch and didn't get up till the next morning.

2 comments:

Penelope Postcards said...

Tools of violence displayed under such a context seems tragic and would make anyone sweat. But perhaps this ill feeling you had requires follow up with a doctor? Hope you are feeling better now!

Thor said...

I now think the reaction came about because I neglected taking several prescriptions that day.