Mr. Ambulance Driver

There’s nothing quite as mournful in the urban soundscape as a passing ambulance siren. It is eerie and it is ominous. It carries the disturbing knowledge that someone, someone not so far away, is living out the worst moment of their life. Everyone has a worst moment, be it an accident or a brush with the law, a moment when their nightmares snap into reality. And it is the ambulance, and the squad car, with their lights and sirens, that rudely alert the world to people’s inherently private sufferings. When you see those flashing lights coming you know that someone’s life has been yanked from its moorings, that their reality will never be the same, that they’re experiencing a turning point they never expected and may never recover from. You hold your breath until it disappears, and if you’re a halfway decent person, say whatever passes for a prayer in your world. And amid all this, maybe give a nod of tribute to the driver and his team, the ones who spend their own lives witnessing and trying to alleviate the worst moments of suffering.

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