Daily 2: Reacting to an emergency

November 22, 2016

The first day after I said I was going to do these, I got righteously drunk. Let’s see how this goes.

I saw a dog getting dragged behind a car today.

I hope it wasn’t on purpose. My first thought was, ” . . . ???” I don’t know that I had a proper first thought. I couldn’t process it.

I was doing some deliveries, and I was a lane over and several cars back, and I just couldn’t understand what was going on. The car was stopped and driving slowly, so the dog was fine. It went to turn and it wasn’t going quickly still, but it was going faster, and a golf cart-like vehicle with a pair of city workers realized what was going on and chased after it. They yelled that the car’s owner’s dog had jumped out the window—they seemed to assume that it was by accident, that the car’s owners didn’t realized what was going on. I hope they were right.

I didn’t stop, or chase after them, or do something. Not because I didn’t think I should have; immediately after I passed that intersection, the thought hit me like a train full of bricks. I just didn’t think about it quickly enough. I was driving an unfamiliar car, and I was so confused by what I was seeing that I didn’t put two and two together in time.

I think the dog was okay. Last I saw the car had stopped at the intersection, and the dog was still on its feet, and the golf cart of city employees was almost on it. I passed by later on too, and there was no sign of anything tragic—though it was raining, so maybe there wouldn’t have been. But I wish I knew. I wish I had veered over a couple of lanes—I don’t remember if there were people in between; maybe I could have done it safely—and helped. I wish I had done something.

At the risk of making this about myself, I wonder how I can train myself to better react in situations like this. I’m a writer; I think long and deep, but I don’t always think fast. If I encounter a thing, or think of it beforehand, I’ll react appropriately. That’s not always possible.

I don’t know the answer. To cheat slightly, a similar thing happened at my hotel job in the past couple of weeks. A woman came in, asking for a room—and saying that she was being followed by someone who wanted to kill her. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know I didn’t react as quickly as I would have preferred. Better than with the dog, granted—I told her and her daughter to hide around the corner while I called security, and then called 911 when they rightly told me I should do that. Nothing came of it, to my knowledge—we couldn’t find the vehicle the woman said was following her, nor could the police. We got her a room for the night. Last I know, she was safe.

But if something had happened, if someone had come in after the woman and her daughter, my paltry reaction might not have saved her. My reaction to the dog’s situation definitely did not save it. Which doesn’t make me feel good, but as I’ve said recently, fuck my feelings. What matter is, once a mistake (or a sub-optimal reaction) happens, how do I do better next time?

That’s what I don’t know. I think long and deep, but not always fast. I don’t know how to train myself to think more quickly in a situation like that, and I wonder whether the tendency to keep going forward on the wings of inertia instead of turning aside and correcting the injustice is a defense mechanism. It keeps us from getting involved in something potentially dangerous.

I hope they’re all right.

(My, this has been a cheery first (un-announcey) journal entry. But, well, that’s what the day gave me, and a day that took place before I was doing these. I sincerely do hope they’re all right, though. I just wish I had done more than that, especially today.)

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

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