This blog post does not have a humorous tone, so if you came here to read tales of my 24 year old (man I am clinging to that, even though i’ll be 25 in 26 days) shenanigans then I am sorry to disappoint you.
Because sometimes things that aren’t hilarious happen, and no matter how much you try to fill your life up with sunshine, and see the bright side of a situation, there are still sad things in the world.
And such was Friday evening.
I was on my way to film my first ever live report. I was nervous (understandably) but pretty confident (I’ve done quite a bit of On-Air pre-recorded stuff recently).
The shoot was miles away, and because I work as a Temp at the moment, I was going straight from the office job (that pays my bills) to the Shoot (which fulfills my dreams). I had the timing perfect, with a little buffer even. I had to take the street car waaaaaaay far west from the Downtown core of Toronto – an area I am not at all familair with. I had my iPhone maps open and was watching that blue dot move towards the red drop pin with quiet intensity.
We were pretty close, and I was right on schedule, when someone on the streetcar slumped over and passed out.
I didn’t notice at first (I was staring at my phone, and doing that annoying thing Ron Burgundy does meeeemeeemee *stretching face* – not really but sortof).
We were at a stop, and someone raced up to the driver of the streetcar and said, someone is in trouble. I turned around and a metre behind me was a women slumped face first on the ground.
“She’s passed out” “she’s breathing” “she’s not responding”.
The streetcar driver moved forward, looked at her, shook her, shook his head and went to call dispatch. Everyone remained where they were.
One woman reached down and kept trying to wake her (it should be noted that a pungent alcohol smell was coming off her) but everyone else pretty much did nothing.
Some people shuffled off the Streetcar in frustration (it’s a one track deal, so it’s not like any other streetcars were getting past us) and people started to harumph and mutter and show signs of irritation.
Finally an ambulance arrived and paramedics came onto the streetcar, administered oxygen and managed to get the (obviously drug fucked) person to move. One of the Paramedics looked around and said “no one got off the streetcar?!”
No. No one did. In fact several people had moved forward to watch. my seat was close to where the woman was collapsed, and I just sat there and watched too.
They took the women away and put her on a stretcher and I arrived at my destination at 6.30, not 6pm, like I had planned, for my broadcast at 7 (a piano-a-thon, breaking news story).
Because I was nervous and focused on myself, it wasn’t until later that night – back on the streetcar and headed home after a long day, that my inaction started to bother me.
Yes, She was drunk, and high. Yes, the fact that she passed out was a result of her own actions. Yes, this kind of thing happens frequently on the delay-plagued Toronto Transit Commission.
But she was still a person in distress, and although my First Aide training is not so current, I do have it. I am naturally a leader and someone who remains calm in a crisis. And I reacted to this person, who is somebodies friend, daughter, sister, with detachment and frustration.
How dare she impede my day.
I had to have a really hard think about that one. Because I am better than that. And maybe I couldn’t have helped, but I damn sure could have had some compassion.
What if that was my friend? Or my Brother?
What if that were me?
Life isn’t always easy, and people make stupid decisions but they are still people.
How different would my reaction have been if someone had passed out having an epileptic fit? Or a heart attack?
I don’t want to be so jaded that I don’t even react in a situation like that.
Something to think about.