Friday, March 31, 2006

Hey, how's that burrito?

A coworker and I were walking back from getting a late lunch this afternoon when, down the street, could be heard an approaching siren. A fire truck. Carla was a couple steps behind me, being encumbered with holding her sandwich bag and holding down her skirt on a windy March afternoon.

As I got to the corner, I saw a group of people looking past me to the nearing fire truck. I knew exactly what they were thinking and even said, under my breath, I wouldn't, guys. So, Carla and I watched, amazed, as the woman and two younger guys ran, in the path of a speeding fire truck, to get to the Mexican restaurant across the street.

"Wow, they really must have wanted that burrito," I said.

Never mind the emergency. Lunch is an emergency. If we don't get that burrito stat, we're going to lose capacity for large post-intestinal gusting this afternoon.

The emergency vehicle was just an obstacle, an abstract to the burrito crowd. The specifics of life and death meant nothing. Until, of course, it's their pork on the line while their emergency transportation has to slow down for morons who take a turn in front of an ambulance (this we witnessed right after the fire truck passed).

Since I was a kid, I always knew you slowed and moved to the side for an emergency vehicle to pass. I saw both my parents do it. It floors me the number of times I don't witness ostensibly responsible drivers doing the same. What goes through people's minds to look at an oncoming ambulance or fire truck and think, I can make it. Does not the remote possibility of becoming a casualty ever occur to jolt one from the anticipation of a pending case of heartburn from a bad Mexican meal?

I hope the person who was waiting for the ambulance made it. We passed the destination of the emergency – a barbecue restaurant. Maybe it was a calling card from someone's aorta to cut down on the red meat.

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