What do you guys talk about all day?

talk about
 We sometimes refer to the cab of whichever ambulance we find ourselves in as “The Cone of Silence.” What is said in the cab STAYS in the cab — unless it is ridiculous, profound or just too good to keep to ourselves!

We’re working on a gunshot victim. He’s a young guy, smiling, likely an undocumented immigrant. As I’m cutting off his clothes I keep finding more holes.

“Jeez Buddy, how many times have you been shot?”
He smiles even more and says with a heavy accent:
“This is my first time!”


We’re in the back of the rig, cleaning up after running a code.

“Piss isn’t bad.”
“Puke is awful.”
“Shit is the worst.”
“Blood is easy.”
“Yeah, but piss is still my favorite.”


What’s better than giving good advice to a new guy? Getting good advice when you’re a new guy.

“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, why?”
“Because you just saw a dead lady.”
“I think I’m going to see a lot more.”
“Probably.”

It was quiet for a moment.
“So, you ok?”
“Does it always smell so bad.”
“Not always.”
“She didn’t look peaceful, do they always look like that?”
“Nah, sometimes they just look like they’re asleep.”
A few more silent moments.

“How long was she dead?”
“Couple days, I guess. You’re going to see things other people can’t imagine. It isn’t easy. When it gets easy, it’s time to go.”
“I’ve seen dead people, but they were cleaned up and in a casket.”
“They’ll clean that lady up.”
“It’s weird, the way her mouth was wide open, like she was trying to scream.”
“That was probably rigor mortis. She died in her sleep. The body does weird things once the spirit leaves.”
“You think she had a spirit?”
“Of course I do, can’t figure why we’d be here if there’s no spirit.”
“Hmmm.”
The silence between words is often more profound than the words themselves.

“You okay?”
“Yeah, probably gonna see a lot more dead people.”
“It’s never easy.”
“When it gets easy it’s time to go?”
“It’s one of the signs. You have to know when enough is enough.”


It’s the third time in two days that Michael has graced us with his presence. He drinks, calls 911 from the last remaining pay phone in Providence and waits for his ride to the ER.

“Michael, you have to stop getting drunk and calling 911.”
“Why?”
“Because there are real emergencies!”
“Like the time you took me to Olneyville for the kid who got crushed by the TV?”
“Yeah, like that. Why don’t you go to the shelter like the rest of the homeless people?”
“You ever been to the shelter?”
“Yes I have. To pick people like you up and take them to the hospital.”
“And you’ve been to the ER.”
“Your point?”
“If the homeless broads looked as good as the nurses I’d stay there.”


We’re leaving the children’s hospital where we just dropped off a fifteen-year-old girl with a fever.

“She was hot!” says the man-boy driver.
“She’s fifteen, you idiot!” replies the old man Lieutenant.
“Not her, her mom.”
“Oh, her. Yeah, she was kind of hot.”
“Sucks when the mom is old enough to be your daughter, huh?”
“Just drive.”


It’s been a long, hard shift, the minions of Providence have been especially restless.

“I hate this city, and everybody in it.”
“It’s not just here, it’s everywhere.”
“Yeah, but we’re here.”
“We could be anywhere and we would still hate everybody.”
“Not if we were in Hawaii.”
“You think there’s no assholes in Hawaii? There’s plenty, trust me.”
“How do you know.”
“Because I dream about them.”
“You dream about assholes?”
“No, you idiot, I dream about Hawaii.”
“You just said…”
“Don’t you know anything? Forget everything I say when we’re in this truck!”


It’s late, Saturday night, the city seems to be taking a break. On the way back to the station I turn on the radio, the local college station, WBRU is doing a throwback weekend. One of my favorites is on, I crank up the volume.

“What the fuck is that?”
“The Sex Pistols.”
“You call that music?”
“It isn’t music dipshit. It’s Punk!”
“That isn’t music, this is music,” and the man-boy driving the rescue changes the station to his favorite R&B station, where it seems to be “all rap, all the time.”
“At least the Sex Pistols knew they sucked,” as the man in charge puts the station back where it belongs.


We do have some colorful patients!

“I didn’t know you were gay.”
“I’m not.”
“You know that guy was hitting on you, right?”
“The one we picked up in the gay bar?”
“That just sounds wrong. Yeah, him.”
“Yeah I know.”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seemed to like the attention.”
“Well, he was kind of handsome and we’ve been stuck in this truck for days; you’re even starting to look good.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“Yes I am. Rescue 1 in service.”


But nothing tops an open mic during a good old-fashioned supposedly private gripe session!

“I’ll tell you what the problem is. The chief is an idiot, the fat bastards in the station don’t know CPR from CPWHO, minorities are running city hall and the streets are full of crackheads.”
“Fire Alarm to Rescue 1.″
“And these assholes couldn’t dispatch a dump truck to pick up a pile of shit!”
“Rescue 1 to Fire alarm, go ahead.”
“Rescue 1, you have an open mic.”
“Roger. Disregard the last message.”

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