Friday, May 23, 2003
quote du jour:
"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." -- Albert Einstein
I'd tried most of the standard techniques for staying awake. I shifted my body into dozens of different positions. I tried to take my mind off the instructor by attempting to write a journal entry. I even raised my hand to ask an unnecessary question -- hoping the sound of my own voice could wake me up. But not even the 68 degree temperature of the room was enough to keep me fully conscious.

I knew I was in real trouble when I started to read over notes I'd taken while half asleep. There, where "assess basic vitals" should have been, was "assess basil violates." Had this been college, I would have long since been asleep... But you act a bit different in a class that someone's paying you to attend.

Welcome to Emergency Medical Technician school.

Actually, the class isn't boring at all. I never really did well in biology, but I was always fascinated by it. Okay, so I was only fascinated by the cool stuff. Unfortunately, every class I took seemed to get bogged down with things like covalent bonds and cellular respiration. This always insured that I was good and lost when it finally came time to start cutting up the animals.

EMT school is like a highlight reel of every science class you took -- unless, of course, you're a doctor or something. It's only six weeks long, so we don't have time to get bogged down with anything. You'd think that at such a rapid pace, it would be hard for anyone to be sleepy. But obviously, sleeping in class is a trained behavior. Let's face it, I spent damn near two decades finding ways to sleep in class. You can't expect me to get rid of that behavior in a month and a half, can you?

Originally planned for this space was a rant of sorts about some of the folks that work at my department. In it, I made the comment that the best part of EMT school has been that I haven't had to work a single shift at the fire station in four weeks.

Being a firefighter is the only thing I want to do right now. Quite possibly, it could be the only thing I ever want to do. I consider it to be the greatest job out there and I consider myself to be blessed to get to do it. But every now and then, it becomes entirely too easy to get down about the job.

The people who resist progress, the people who are only there for a paycheck and the people who think the world ends at the city limits... Well, those people tend to depress the hell out of me sometimes. Right now, I'm in school along with folks from another department. They have their own way of doing things and while their way may be better or worse than ours, that doesn't matter. It's different. That's what matters. That's what gives you perspective on how you do things. I'm really wishing I could take a bit of that perspective back with me when I return in a couple of weeks. There is a whole world out there and some of the folks I work with have forgotten that.

Most of my original diatribe has been written, saved and is sitting in a folder on my hard drive. Pending a warrant, I doubt it'll ever see the light of day. It was much too harsh and I'm still on probation -- not really a good combination.

The gist of it, in an easier to swallow format, is that you can't let the world pass you by. You can't know how to do just one thing one way in one place with one set of folks. Our world shrinks more and more every day... and if you limit your perspective to just your little piece of it, you're missing out.

In the case of my job, ignoring alternatives to "the way we've always done it" keeps us from serving the citizens in a way they deserve. If someone isn't interested in providing the best service possible, why do they always want to interfere with those of us that are?

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