Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today my firefighter and I had a fight. I guess not really a fight, so much as frustration with a problem that we just can't seem to find the time to discuss and resolve properly. That's one thing I don't like about this job - it takes precedence over things like talking through problems.

I was driving to the store, feeling down, frustrated, and a little bit bitter toward my firefighter, when I saw the telltale sign of an accident ahead - the flashing red lights of a fire engine mixed with the blue lights of a cop car. I slowed down to give the guys working the scene as much room and safety as possible. As I approached the accident, I saw a group of young people standing on the grass. They were clearly worried, huddling together with their hands and arms drawn inward and toward their faces as if to keep their feelings from falling apart.

They were all looking at the same spot. It was hard not to look at that spot. All of the colored lights were the equivalent of a huge flashing Vegas arrow sign, pointing toward one brightly lit center of the back of an ambulance. And in the middle of this glowing square of light was a paramedic working on a patient. I looked wide-eyed at the motorcycle that had crashed. I watched the medic along with everyone else, bent and worried over the patient. I watched the muscles in his tan forearms work with precision and speed as silver glints reflected off of his badge with the movement. In that moment, that medic was a saint who had come to the rescue; one literally shining spot of hope in the midst of someone's really crappy evening.

As I continued on my way to my completely mundane task of going shopping, I kept thinking - who, in their right mind, looks at that guy and thinks "ugh - why were you such a jerk today"? How do you--how do I separate the rescuer from the completely fallible person underneath? That's one thing that Denis Leary got right - the dichotomy between hero and painfully human.

I feel like I need to apologize to society for ever harboring negative feelings toward someone who is that medic in the back of the ambulance, concerned about the outcome of his patient. I am truly sorry. But sometimes he can be so frustrating and such a... a... GUY!!


(Not to worry, my firefighter and I will get a chance to talk in a bit and we'll be back to the complete bliss part of our life together in no time. It's just your standard married-for-ten-years-with-three-kids-and-guests-staying-in-the-house-on-top-of-a-stressful-week stuff.)


S said...

Katie, I can so relate. I've been married to my FF/medic for nearly 14 years, also three kids, and my guy also volunteers in our village. He got a call once, I believe it was just as we were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, and I shot him a look like "I can't believe you are going" and he said, very exasperated, (while throwing on shoes and hat and grabbing keys and phone)sorry honey, it's only life or death! Hard to put family dinner up against that, y'know?
My guy is my hero, and sometimes other peoples hero too. But sometimes I don't want a hero, I just want a husband.
Nice story - you illustrate the dichotomy perfectly.

Katie said...

Thanks Sharon, you said it just right - sometimes I just want a husband!!

Anonymous said...

I love that comment- you reall did say it just right "sometimes I just want a husband". .. so insightful and so basic at the same time.

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