Four Times I’ve Seen People Have Seizures

May, 2004

I was in a gymnasium at my high school. It was the afternoon. I was there taking the AP English exam with other people. A large grid of desks had been set up for us. In my mind, there was a ‘staggering’ number of desks, like 200-500, but it was probably only like 50-75 in reality. My friend Pat was there. He sat two seats behind me.

A teacher read the instructions and we started taking the test. It was really quiet. At one point, a girl sitting in front of me made a weird noise like a yelp or an attempted scream and lunged from her desk onto the gym floor. Then she just lay there, face down. Everyone looked at her, confused. I remember thinking that she was ‘cheating.’ A few teachers ran over to her and were touching her. Eventually, she stood up and got back in her seat. One of the teachers told us to keep taking the test. I turned my head around and looked at my friend Pat and he looked back at me with his eyes opened very wide. Some paramedics came and put the girl on a stretcher even though she seemed fine. After the test, I went to Pat’s house and played video games – Mario Kart, I think.

September, 2009

I was in a small cafeteria in downtown Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Tao Lin was reading on a panel called “Real Surreal.” It was my first time hearing him read. Nicholson Baker was there too, I think. I was sitting alone in a blue plastic chair. During the ‘Q and A’ section, an old woman went limp in her blue plastic chair and started shaking slightly. I remember looking at her and thinking something like “why is she doing that?” An Asian man sprinted from somewhere and gave her water while touching her head. She stopped shaking and woke up. I think she stayed for the rest of the reading before paramedics took her away.

June, 2010

I was working at Court Street Bagels in Brooklyn. There was a long line of people waiting to get bagels. I was doing something behind the counter when I heard a noise and someone said, “she fell.” A baby started crying. A man jumped over a table and grabbed a bottle of water and opened it forcefully so that most of it spilled onto the floor. I remember not being able to see the person who fell because the counter was in the way. Someone said, “call a doctor!” but no one did. Later, the other employees made fun of the guy who said “call a doctor.” One of the employees walked around clapping his hands and yelling “wuh-BAM!” to recreate the noise the person made when she fell. I was fired the next day.

July, 2010

I was at my friend’s band’s show at the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn. It was the afternoon. It was extremely hot. My friend’s parents were there and after the show, I rode the subway with them. We were on the subway and someone standing near us threw their water bottle into the air and collapsed onto the floor of the train. The person started shaking. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. The train stopped at a station and I remember looking frantically from the person shaking on the floor to somewhere outside the train. The person stopped shaking and my friend’s dad helped him/her up. The person looked embarrassed and was whispering “oh my god, oh my god” repeatedly. Someone offered the person a seat and he/she sat in the seat clutching his/her head between his/her legs. My friend’s dad asked the person if he/she had ever had a seizure before. The person said no. We rode the subway in silence and periodically my friend’s dad would turn around and ask the person if he/she was ok. He did this maybe five times. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. I got off the subway and went to the library. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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