The Scent of an Ambulance

If something is best left unseen, I have a need to see it. My curiosity is raw, defying all aspects of decency. With a mere glimpse of flashing lights, my pulse quickens and my eyes dilate. Someone’s either sick, crazy, or has done something really bad; this much is guaranteed. I must obtain the details.    

If I’m on foot, my course of action is clear: move toward the scene with an exaggerated air of nonchalance, hoping there’s still something to see when I get there. Driving, the situation is more complicated. Usually I try to get past the cars ahead of me, turn onto a side street, and approach from a clearer direction. It’s a good plan, but it frequently ends in frustration. “Get out of the way, you idiot!” I mutter to the driver ahead of me. Far too often, he remains indifferent. I end up like everyone else, directed away from the excitement by some control-freak police officer. 

Codes are yet another enticement.

At the gym, when somebody gets sick or hurt, a code is announced. Let me be clear: I do not want anybody to get sick or hurt. But, if it’s fated to happen, why can’t I be there? I wouldn’t interfere; if anything, I’d stand ready to assist. Too little air? I’d turn up the fan. Blood? I’d hand over my sweat towel. I’m not even asking to be involved in every code. I’d happily settle for one out of three. Is that too much to ask?

In my basest moments, it occurs to me, my internal state mirrors “Lord of the Flies.” If everyone was like this, civilization would surely unravel. Clogged with eager onlookers, hospitals would have little room for medical personnel. JuJuBee’s would be sold at accident scenes, and smart phones would come out with disaster locater applications. Binoculars would be worth their weight in jewels, and before anyone knew it, Quentin Tarantino would be elected to Congress.

Scary notions, all. But think: if I found myself on a stretcher, you’d be invited to gape.

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12 thoughts on “The Scent of an Ambulance

  1. This is human nature my dear, it’s just that you are the only one honest enough to actually admit to your passion for the bizarre and then write about it in your blog! I’m so glad you did, because now WE all know we’re not that different and can actually laugh about it!

    1. Thanks so much for admitting you identify! I hoped that people would, but 5 minutes after hitting “publish,” I felt exposed as…well, the person that I am. Thank God I’m not alone!

  2. June, I couldn’t be more different. When things happen, good or bad, I keep on walking. Ambulances freak me out ever since my father collapsed one time and they drove him away in one and good times? If they’re not mine, well, I’m not really tempted to look. There is one exception though and it’s weddings. Sometimes I will go past a church or City Hall and see a wedding party and I’m drawn to be part of the crowd. Maybe this curiosity stems from my mother always telling me that it was “good luck” to see a bride. And the good Lord knows I’ll do anything to have good luck come my way! That said, I love your honesty and how you “put it out there.” Like Elizabeth said, it’s all part of the human factor! 🙂

    1. Actually, Bella, if I had a choice between gawking at an ambulance or a wedding, I don’t know which I’d choose. I don’t know if brides bring good luck, but they sure are gorgeous.

  3. As much as I hate the thought of something tragic happening to someone, I, too, if I am being honest, am drawn to the scene. The drama of it. And yes, the possible opportunity to be part of the drama/excitement.

    Also, I love that you would hand over your sweat towel for the bloody victim. 🙂

  4. Hi June,

    I admit to wanting to rubber neck but having my ‘inner mother’ reprimand me for my morbid curiosity. On the other hand I am frightened to death by gruesome injuries and prefer to avoid any traffic clots as a result of a blood spill.

    I greatly enjoyed the read, and look forward to getting to know you better! Thanks so much for the friend request. You’re my first as I”m new here!

    Warmest Regards,

    Rebecca aka THE SNEE:the sometimes, never,eventual express. Satire News

    http://thesnee.typepad.com/blog/

    1. I have an inner mother, but I strong-arm her into doing what I want. As for gruesome injuries, as fascinated as I might be, I’m not sure how I’d react. For all I know, I’d pass out and need smelling salts. Anyway, thanks for comment. I’m looking forward to reading The Snee.

  5. I like the line “jujubees would be sold…” Made me laugh. I tend to go the other way, as I know I can’t be of help without a medical background. I used to be married to a medical professional; I always bowed to his expertise.

  6. June,

    You are such an exquisite writer. I love the title.

    I think we need a new channel for rubberneckers. Whenever there’s an accident or catastrophe, our cameras will be there, getting a close up in HD of a torso or a missing head. Oh, that’s right. There’s CNN.

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