I sit in traffic in the Witch City, ten minutes away from my date with a timeclock. A midget zips past on a bicycle. He’s dressed in racing spandex, with an aerodynamic teardrop helmet, riding a miniature ten speed; Lance Armstrong at 60% reduction.
It’s a good omen for the day.
Mid-afternoon we spot this advertising gem parked downtown. It’s a cute stunt that draws a small crowd with cameras.
The house is a local sidestreet gem; not much to look at from outside, but fascinating on the inside. The shades are drawn on a large living room, darkening the atmosphere. The walls are covered in vertically striped paper; dark, wide stripes. Gold trim and dark maroon woodwork frame a large shadow box on one wall; statues and velvet paintings of ghouls smile back at us with fearsome teeth from among syntehtic cobwebs. A blacklight highlights their flourescent eyes and makes my white uniform shirt glow.
Our patient is whiter than my shirt and does not glow.
As we pass through the kitchen, I notice a magnet on the refrigerator. There among the grocery lists, appointment reminders, and important phone numbers, a caricature of a Boston EMS ambulance peeks out. Resplendent in its distinctive orange stripes and ugly lettering, it admonishes us to “Dial 911.”
Our patient grabs the hand of a neighbor on the way out. “It was nice knowing you,” he says.
On the way home, I pass the Mini still parked downtown, now alone. My tired public safety brain finally realizes that I cannot see what may be inside it. It’s parked across the street from City Hall, within sight of three court houses and the train station. Suddenly it’s not so cute anymore. I’m saddened that we have to think this way, and I hope someone has verified that it’s safe.
I pass another bicyclist, this one wearing a yellow reflective jacket like mine and riding a mountain bike. He’s doing a good clip, and as I approach I realize that there is a long-haired dachshund peeking out from a wicker basket on the back. The dog seems to feel this is all perfectly normal.