Had to get my morning coffee fix at Peet’s today, as the net was on the fritz yet again. When you poach you just never know. So I headed out with laptop and camera. Once at Peet’s, I struck a few items off the list and things were turning out to be a “pretty nice little Thursday.” As I drove home all of a sudden the street I was on was full of fire engines and police cars. I pulled over and jumped out to see what was all the commotion.
I approached the scene with a bit of caution and then hailed a civilian guy who was helping with traffic.
He told me that basically a car had run the stop sign and T-Boned the van pretty good. There was radiator fluid and some random debris everywhere,
and I hung around a bit longer, wondering if I would be shooed away the the cops. Inquiring to the fireman if anyone had been hurt, he cuttingly said, “Do you mean did anybody die?” Before I could reply he said with a matter of fact, “No, nothing too bad. Nothing they won’t get over in a few days.” And with that he picked up the license plate that had been flung in the street and walked towards the scene.
When you work in that kind of environment; when all you seem to do is aid in the rescue, recovery, and salvation of people’s well being and/or their lives, you start to marginalize the day to day accidents. Surely it is a survival mechanism of the trade, just like how doctors must be able to pull away from the emotion of holding someone’s life in their hands. They have to view it as a body, a machine with all the parts where they normally are. Open the hood and yep, the oil and tranny fluid look good. Gaskets are tight. Just have to go in and adjust the spark plugs via… the heart.
I know I couldn’t be a doctor. I watched an open heart surgery on television once in Biology Class: Mr. O’Brien’s class with the anatomical skeleton and schematics of the human muscular system in the far corner. One day he brought in a video of an open heart surgery to show us. I moved myself to the front of the class to get a better view, and boy did I ever. In thirty seconds I was seeing too much, and I arose pale white to inform Mr. O‘Brien that I would be leaving class for a quick jaunt to the toilet. As I approached, without looking up, “Sit down Parsons,” was the curt reply. Placing my hand on Mr. O’Brien’s arm (something no student would ever do) I stated again, “No, Mr. O’Brien, I really need to go to the bathroom.”
As I left the room there was one thing on my mind: Don’t pee yourself. I was so scared that I was going to pass out and pee that my first priority was to hit the urinal. I virtually stumbled over seeing very tight tunnel vision and accomplished my goal. I mean, if you are a sophomore in high school and you pee yourself, you are done. Friends? Girls? Redemption? No way in hell. It would have been all over.