Let’s have a chat about Optional vs Mandatory, shall we?

Last week, for the 3rd time, there were lights in the rearview before the sirens were even audible.  I pulled the Subaru over and stopped.  And, for the 3rd time, my jaw dropped as cars pulled past me and continued on.  Sirens were now audible, and still, cars just kept going by as if nothing was happening, not even slowing down.  In the rearview, at the intersection through which I had just passed, the EMS vehicle deftly navigated around the cars which only stopped when collision was imminent.  The EMS zipped by me only to be slowed down by the cars that begrudgingly pulled aside only when the EMS was on their tail – aside, not over, and not all were stopped.

For the 3rd time in a week, I yelled at no one in particular.

A little disclaimer here.  You is directed at the You’s who believe that the rules of decent behavior on the road do not apply to them. The rest of you who get it, can pass this along.

It is s a simple thing. You hear sirens, you pull over. You see flashing lights, you pull over. NOT when you feel like it, NOT when the EMS vehicle is on your bumper.  NOW! And if you can’t pull over, STOP.  They are trained to find a path around you. Every second counts, which means unless YOU are in the EMS vehicle, where you are going and what you are doing isn’t so important that a few stationary seconds is going to throw off your whole day.  Just get out of the way, and let them do their jobs and remember: it might be you or a loved one in that EMS some day.

When I posted that last paragraph on FB, a fireman/paramedic friend of mine commented,  “It’s always someone’s loved one in the back.” Good point.

Pulling over for an EMS vehicle is not optional, it’s mandatory. It’s not about convenience, it’s about life and death.  The EMS vehicle, passenger, and crew, are not plotting against you to ruin your day.  In short:  It’s not. about. you.


(For more information, read this or this)

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“Not Fit to be Around”

“Come on, Dave.  Maybe we should go and leave mom alone.”  Says my ten-year-old son.  Which is the equivalent to being told “you aren’t fit to be around.”  Yikes. I just got served.

Not Fit to be Around – an expression stolen from a dear friend with a son three years older than mine.  She used to tell her son that he needed to go to his room til he was fit to be around… he’s 13 now, so I am guessing she still throws that one his way now and then.

I loved it.  I loved how the phrase ricocheted around in my mouth but was delivered with soft steely tones.  I stole it.  I used it.  And it was magic.  “Go to your room, you are not fit to be around,” was used for fatigue, frustration, irritable non-compliance and non-specific happiness failures.  This order was usually followed by muffled complaints from the misunderstood and unjustly contained 4-year-old.  Every once in a while I could make out a “She doesn’t know” or “They so mean”.   Funny thing was this wasn’t really punishment as much as a time out.  A break.  A Ctrl+Alt+Del.  The lad didn’t see it that way.  I’m sure we felt like Super-Parents.

After the rantings and ravings faded, we’d hear the door knob squeak and the voice “Mama? I’m fit to be around now.  Can I come out?”

Awwww. Many hugs and kisses followed.

Imagine my surprise when he found a nice way of saying  “Mom, you aren’t fit to be around.”  Worse, he was right.  Bear and his Bonus Dad happily skedaddled out of there while a fatigued, frustrated, irritable and non-compliant grown woman realized she needed a nap.  I’d had a non-specific happiness failure.

I kinda felt like muttering at them though the door about how they just don’t understand but all I felt for them was love and acceptance.  I wish I could remember what song was running through my head as I stood in our empty house – something sentimental and poignant, I’m sure.

Later, I turned the knob and let them know I was fit to be around.

Hugs and kisses followed.

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