Hive Mind

There I was, sitting outside the newsagent shop at the end of the hospital road. The newsagent who I'm sure I keep financially stable with my purchases of large amounts of caffeinated beverages. As I finish off the paperwork from my previous job one of our ambulances races past me on the way to a job. A woman chooses that moment to cross the road without first looking for big lumps of yellow metal and blue flashing lights moving at speed.

The ambulance misses her, but she stands in the middle of the road and swears at them. She then continues to walk across the road and I note that she spots my ambulance…

She stalks over to me and bangs on my window. I wind it down a notch.

She's angry.

“Do you know that ambulance?”, she shouts at me.

I tell her the truth, I have no idea who it was.

“Yes you do!”, small flecks of spit hit the window of the ambulance, “You ambulance drivers think you own the fucking road!”

She continues in a similar vein with much more swearing. Most of it directed at me. She won't let me get a word in edgeways.

I consider stepping out of the ambulance and punching her on the nose – I reconsider as it's not a good career choice.

I tell her to go away. Maybe a little less politely than policy would suggest.

Apparently, because we all share a uniform we all share a hive mind. Also I suspect that she wouldn't be shouting at me if she were to come across me in the street wearing my jeans and hoodie.

After all that I went to one of my 'happy places', off to the Tate & Lyle factory for a minor (but exceedingly painful) injury. I love it there, not only do they always have someone to meet us at the gate and escort us to the patient, but the arrangement of brick and pipework hits some sort of aesthetic nerve in my body. I'd love to roam around there taking photographs of the buildings and machinery there – it's a beautiful place.

18 thoughts on “Hive Mind”

  1. isn't there some sort of provision for emergency services with the whole dee-dah blue lights etc having priority over just about anything else?

  2. My first job was at Tate & Lyle in the 70s – it was a complete town; every conceivable trade and skill represented – they even had a museum of weird and exotic things found in the bulk raw sugar. One of my favorites was the golden syrup tin assembly line at “Lyles's” at Plaistow – ( there were two distinct tribes – (“Tates's at Silvertown and “Lyles's at Plaistow) the tins were made on site from huge sheets of printed tinplate – then tested for leaks before filling on a huge (30 ft diam) vertical wheel with suction cups all around it; ant tins with leaks fell off during the circuit – very Heath Robinson – also the icing sugar plant – fine sugar is pretty explosive – so this plant was designed like a firework factory – no windows or doors, just curtains – so that when the inevitable minor explosion the biggest candyfloss stand in the world It felt I remeember like a huge family. My first job was as a wages clerk – a huge incentive to accuracy was the prospect of having to explain to a 20st docker why his wages were wrong – personal responsibility meant something in all jobs then not just in the blue light business.

  3. Next time you're in the T&L factory, and you have some time, ask to see their R&D department. They sometimes have loads of little goodies they're only too happy to hand out. (Well it was 15 years ago, whether it is now…)

  4. Very restrained of you.I'm also a fan of the Tate & Lyle factory, though I've never been inside — I used to pass it going up and down the river to and from the docks near City Airport a lot. I've got a real soft spot for that sort of industrial architecture, like in the 798 district in Dashanzi, in Beijing.

  5. Bet she wouldn't be so rude if you were attending to her………..but then again…..!!I actually saw for myself the other day someone running out in front of a sppeeding ambulance, lights and sirens going, I am wondering if she thought we had pulled up in our cars for her! Honestly, stupidity!!!

  6. All ambulances should be fitted with better windscreen wipers and washer jets so that you could at least run-over such stupid people without the resulting gunge obscuring your vision!Perhaps you should knock up a little form on the computer saying, “Congratulations – You have just nominated yourself for a Near-Miss Darwin Award for your valiant attempt to take yourself out of the gene pool. Please sign here to confirm your nomination.” and then hand them out….

  7. I'll never forget when I was a firefighter and driving the pump rather rapidly on blues down a High Street to an RTA, when an elderly lady with toddler and pushchair scampered across the road in front of me. Now I'm sorry folks, but a pump is a large, very fast and very loud piece of red equipment and difficult to miss with its blues on in the middle of the rush hour. Suffice to say, if I hadn't had ABS available under my right foot, I wouldn't have stopped in time (thanks to Dennis). I was impressed by the amount of blue smoke emanating from the wheel arches.Anyway, there was a chorus of “f*****g hell you're going to hit her” from all my colleagues in the cab. Those who were trying to put BA on were not happy. Problem was that the cab windows were open and the lady heard these screams. Later that day we were advised by Control a complaint had been made to the Chief Officer about our swearing. The Sub' got into a bit of bother over it. You couldn't make it up!

  8. Bit off topic, but I wonder what would have happened had an ambulance tried to get pass this incident.In my town centre a car had 'broken down' (you will see the reason for single quotes later) in the main street. It was causing severe congestion especially as the whole town was full with few parking spaces, and the car was double parked with a stream of waiting cars either side. As cars took in turns to pass they had to go onto the pavement. The bonnet was up and a 'frustrated' woman was trying to persuade a parking attendant not to book her.Then a man carrying multiple bags of shopping arrived. He stood on the pavement and waited while the woman looked around. She opened the boot then nodded to him. He ran across and dumped said shopping into said hole. Then it was boot down, bonnet down and they drove off.Now it an ambulance had arrived and was in a hurry…

  9. Absolutely astounding stuff. Though, quite clearly, you have not been doing your job in the correct fashion young man. You give no mention at all to checking this womans nappy, let alone spitting on your hanky and scrubbing away at her chocolate encrusted gob for her. I really don't know what todays medical profession is coming to. There's far too much ranting polluting society today. Before we know it someone will have the audacity to start a blog on such matters. Where's it all going to end. – BC

  10. Actually, just upgrade the washer jets. Then casually switch them on mid rant and soak her.It might not stop her for long, but I do believe the look on her face would be worth it…

  11. Work's a giggle eh!Be rest assured Tom that if I were working with you, I'd make sure I'd be doing my upmost to make you smile and chuckle, whilst the loony from stressville, bumps her gums.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *