OUT OF LEFT FIELD: Grown up - or out of touch?
I had an interaction with a reader in the past week or so, and I went back and read through it, and realized my whole argument boiled down to, “You hurt my feelings.”
Are you KIDDING me?!?!
How unprofessional. Way to have an appropriately thick skin. Although I maintain his response to me was unfair and dehumanized me, holy cow, Kyra, GET A GRIP!
“Honey, that’s your JOB,” I said to myself.
Lots of people have jobs that require a professional distance – the ones that come most readily to mind are first responders. Cops, firefighters, paramedics. Few people mean them ill … but few are empathetic and respectful, either.
If every paramedic responded to being belittled by the term, “ambulance driver”, the world would be a perpetual brawl. If every cop took a porcine joke personally, our jails would outnumber our houses.
It seems the greater the potential trauma of the job, the greater the public demonization that results. Teachers are relentlessly cut down. Politicians are uniformly treated like vampires (see what your average councillor makes compared to what they make in their professional lives, and tell me they are money-grubbing. How ignorant and foolish. It’s purely cents on the dollar, and no sense at all.)
Our local firefighters are well taken-care-of by virtue of the fact that our fire chief is an expert in Critical Incidence Response (read: you-just-saw-stuff-no-human-being-should-ever-have-to-cope-with Response). But how does that compare with having to listen while a car accident victim screams (in an unsettlingly inhuman voice) for the half-an-hour it takes for the Jaws of Life to extricate her/him? Or when the responders fight their guts out and the victim still dies, CPR be damned. I did that once, stood with them through that horrific sound, and it’s never left me. I still dream about it (nightmare being the better term).
Our cops don’t have it so good – there’s a number they can call. As one cop said to me, “You felt your soul die, a little. So do you finally get home, physically and emotionally exhausted, and want to call a total stranger, hoping your boss never hears of it and puts you on desk duty, and rehash the whole nightmare … or knock down a double scotch and try to forget? No brainer, Sister.”
First responders will be horrified to read me add reporters to the list – but we take calls too, and see pain, too (albeit, far less closely in contact than they) … but we answer to the public for those stories, despite our lack of involvement, and there’s no critical response unit for us, and no phone number to call, and no matter how we respond, we’re either overly-emotional or vultures, and our efforts to be human are rarely rewarded.
So I was sitting here, feeling all sorry for myself … then realized this is the human condition. How many of us have complained at a teller’s brusque treatment without asking, “Did her Mom die last night? Did her partner leave her? Is she maybe just sleep-deprived or hormonal (yes, that last is relevant. LOL).”
So how is that knee-jerk blame and hatred working for us?
We’re all people, doing the best we can with what we have.
And the city’s Splash party, KAAP, our first responders, equine therapy, FreedomQuest, Hospice and so, so, so much more are proof to me that we’re actually getting it right sometimes.
So I think we can focus on what people get wrong … them being people, after all … or focus on what they get right.
And the only happiness our anger, outrage and indignance will impact is our own.
Being a community is hard work – and I’d suggest that includes finding empathy for those who piss you off most. Or it was pretty easy empathy to begin with, and you didn’t give much, did you?
Yes, it’s hard. That’s community, and we deserve the results. Our interpretation will dictate our rewards.