Changing Opinions

Drunk, but pleasant Lithy – chatting up the copper, sudden decrease in liking him after hearing about his repeated drunk driving convictions

It's funny how your impression of people can change from one moment to the next.

We were sent to usual job of 'Man hit over the head with a glass, cut to head' – we were directed to the rear of a chain pub. Standing there were two men, both worse the wear for drink.

The police arrived just behind us, and a female police officer got out to take the statements.

Our patient was in his thirties, drunk, Lithuanian and had a two inch cut to the top of his head, his friend was similarly drunk and the first thing his friend tried doing was to chat up my crewmate. Then chat up the police officer.

Both women gave him short shrift unsurprisingly.

Even our patient told him to go away.

We then sat the injured party down in our ambulance and started getting a history. It was the usual sort of thing, he'd had a bottle thrown at him because his friend and him had been talking to the wrong women. Thankfully he wasn't too badly hurt, and while he needed stitches, he wasn't bleeding at the time.

All throughout our assessment and treatment, and while the officer was taking a statement he was jolly, engaging and full of good humour. He tried to chat up the police officer but unlike his friend he was charming and quite slick.

So a rather nice chap – quite unlike our normal customers in these circumstances.

He asked about joining the police as a translator, apparently he spoke six languages, the officer thought that this was a good idea and asked him if he'd ever been arrested.

“Yes”, he said, “Drink driving. Four times”.

Suddenly we didn't like him any more. He explained how it is apparently normal to drink drive in Lithuania and if you get caught then you give the arresting officer £15 and they let you go. I have no idea if this is the truth.

So he went, in a matter of seconds from a very pleasant patient to a dangerous prat. Of course we didn't treat him any differently, but it was surprising how quickly the atmosphere in the ambulance changed.

He didn't want to go to hospital, he'd been saying this since we'd picked him up and so, despite our attempts to get him to go, he walked off home with nothing more than a bandage over his head wound. Nothing much we could do as he was fully compos mentas.

“Women love scars”, he shouted over his shoulder and grinned at us as he started his long walk home.

UPDATE : I just realised that I left my note on this blogpost in at the top of the post. It's how I remember what I should be writing about, a short sentence or two jotted down to jog the memory. On this occasion I accidentally left it in which kind of spoiled the 'surprise'. Oh well, I've decided to leave it there as it's all about the transparent disclosure this blogging lark.

7 thoughts on “Changing Opinions”

  1. Thirty, forty years ago, that was probably true in most of the world. Certainly in the US deep south, and the west, no question. It was a minor infraction, almost a joke.

  2. buying the police off who stop you for drink driving is common in most former eastern block countries. It's still illegal and the limits are even lower than here but it doesn't stop them drink driving because they know they can just buy them off. We get alot now who are eastern european and they don't like it when they get nicked, disqualification doesn't work too well either because so many drive without licences or insurance anyway.

  3. yeah I am getting a motorbike some time in the next year, and its a fact 60% of all motorbike accidents are in some way caused by car drivers, the being drunk and no insurance is an added worry, but the its not a priority to deal with these people seriously.

  4. Although the drivers in lithuania are certainly crazy (it's a common joke that they speed up at pedestrian crossings rather than slowing down) drink driving is pretty uncommon in my experience. I can't speak for other eastern european countries, but in ukraine and lithuania it's frowned upon to have even one drink if you're driving and people will get cabs (very cheap) home if they have had even a few.

  5. buying off the police on the other hand, is totally standard practice. most of the time they will pull you over claiming you were and you have to pay a 'fine' to continue on your way, mostly due to the fact that the police get paid nothing and have to supplement their income..

  6. Hmmmm Drink driving four times, eh? Wonder if he got any prison time?? I'm willing to bet that – if he'd been nicked four times – he was usually spectacularly over the limit. There is still (far as I am aware) the possibility of prison even for a first offence. Trouble is – of course – these days the only people who get sent to prison are pensioners who can't pay their council tax.

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