Sunday, April 10, 2011

"I'm sixteen and can do what I want"

Last evening I was dispatched not to an address, but the intersection of two dirt roads out in the country.
I am not fond of these type of dispatches-because with no actual address its a crap shoot whether there will actually be anybody there. But there she was a young girl standing on the side of an open field-cell phone in hand.
 She jumped in the back blurted out an address in town,and continued a rapid fire conversation on her cell with what I assume was one of her girlfriends.Talking away on her phone-like most teenagers do-like she was the only one in the car,nothing subtle with kids,
I usually turn a deaf ear to babbling teenagers engaged in conversation-but this one caught my attention.
She had just had an argument with her Mom about her skipping classes. Her failing grades at school and her failure to do any chores while her Mom was away on business for two days.From what she was saying I guessed  this argument ensued in the kitchen and her Mother had thrown and broken a glass on the floor.I assume out of sheer frustration.

 The girl continued on with a taunting tone about how she had run up to her room.Made up her bed like she was under the covers and then slipped out the back door to call a cab.
"I would love to see my Mom's face when she realizes I 'm gone" she exclaimed to her friend. "My Mom's a fucking psychopath- throwing a glass like that." "I'm sixteen and can do what I want-there is nothing they can do about it it" she went on.She was apparently going to couch-surf now for the rest of the week- end and maybe even stay away for a week.I cringed at the thought of her poor parents not knowing where she was.I was going to suggest to her that what she was doing was not the brightest idea.But I doubted she would be much interested in another opinion from an adult-so I kept quiet.
As I dropped her off at her friends house and drove away,I kept thinking about what she had said about her failing grades an skipping so many classes,and her problems at home.God I thought ,sixteen years old,she is still just a baby in the scheme of things.What will her life be like as she reached maturity I wondered.I consoled my-self with the thought that this was probably just her time of teen age rebellion.I hope so-we have enough lost teenagers living on the street.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Walking The Walk-Rather Then Just Talking The Talk.''

Today I was dispatched to pick -up at one of our  seniors residences. On arrival I saw two personal support workers{P.S.W} standing by a very elderly woman in a wheel chair.Of course my first reaction was "oh great this is going to be a time consuming pain in the ass".(A piss poor attitude from the get go.)
 One of the psw's opened my passenger door and told me "we have to get the lady in".You have to get her in, not me, I replied.Furthermore I told her we have a wheel chair van available and that's what you should have booked.The psw claimed she wasn't aware of that-and asked if we could give it a go with my car.
 Go ahead I mumbled, as I engaged myself in a rather juvenile "shit fit".I sat there fuming as they struggled with this poor woman-who had to weigh all of ninety pounds.I turned the meter on as they jostled her around, trying to figure out the best way to get her in the car.Christ almighty I thought-and "these two, do this for a living!"Mean while the old woman was having a shit fit of her own.She was shaking like a leaf and voicing in no uncertain terms her lack of confidence in the two psws ability to get her into the cab, in one piece.(so that made two of us)
 When they did finally manage to get her in,she was pretty much horizontal across my front seat.I managed to get her vertical enough -and thus off my lap-to get her seat belt fastened.I then put her wheel chair in the trunk, tied the lid down-and we were off.As we drove I asked the psws "what in God's name was this visibly fragile woman doing going out".She has a dentist appointment at the mall-came the reply.
 Apparently she had not been out of bed for a year-the dental visit was an urgent matter.As we continued on towards the mall-I started to have a case of the guilt's.I was thinking about all the times I preached the golden rule to my friends."No one gives a shit about anyone other then them selves" I can also often be heard lamenting.
 I thought of my late mother-fragile herself in her last years.What would she think if she saw how I treated this old woman- with such impatience and indifference.I was feeling rather ashamed of my behaviour as we pulled into the mall.
 Wanting to rectify this-I told the psw's to leave the lady-and that I would get her out, and into her chair.
I took on a completely different attitude as I opened her door."Listen darl'in" I told her, "I am a big strong guy and I want you to just put your arms around my neck-like you were giving me a big hug".'Well you do look strong she replied"-''you won't let me fall will you?"Not a chance I told her-"I will hold on to you like it was our last dance"! This made her smile as she reached out and timidly put her arms around me.I gently lifted her up-she panicked a little-and I reassured her that she was safe in my arms.I slowly got her turned around and was able to get her comfortably into her wheel chair.
 As the psw's  prepared to wheel her into the mall-I told them that if the wheel chair van was not available when they were ready to go back-to just ask for me and I would come back for them.Which I ended up doing a couple of hours later.With a little attitude adjustment I was back "treating people the way I would want them to treat me".

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Domestic Violence

I just had the unfortunate experience of overhearing a domestic in the apartment directly across the hall from mine.If it had been just a case of two adults yelling at each other,I would probably not have gotten involved. But upon hearing the voice of a child screaming for someone with a phone,I bolted from my chair.I opened my apartment door to see a little boy about five or six years of age.He was hysterical, crying and asking if I had a phone.A female about 25 was standing with him.I asked what was going on-she replied that her male partner had struck her-and she had struck him back.The male was heading out of the hallway down the stairs at this point.The little boy kept yelling to me that the man was bleeding.I asked the woman if indeed that was the case,she replied yes,he is bleeding from the head.I called the police who thankfully, arrived with-in minutes of my call.
  Everyone concerned was taken in by the officers,and I don't believe the male party was seriously injured.But what a horrible situation for a child to witness.I found myself unduly shaken by this incident.It no doubt triggered some memories of my own dysfunctional childhood.
I share this incident because no where near enough is being done to address domestic violence.
We have in this town a women's shelter-but no avenue of help for the men involved.Locking them up in jail and forcing them to take an anger management course is not the whole answer.This course of action-from my own personal experience in talking to men who have been involved in domestic violence-is rarely effective.
What in my opinion is needed, is a shelter of some kind, where these men, prone to violence,can get professional help.Whether it be court ordered or a voluntary admission.This very dangerous issue of domestic violence must be addressed.Not just at the punitive level-but also at a therapeutic level.These men are acting out this way for a reason.We as a society owe it to our children to delve deeper into this issue.  

Friday, January 7, 2011

Finger Print This!

It is time for the annual renewal of my cab license.Our town requires a criminal record search,a drivers abstract, and two passport size photos -to be submitted with the renewal application each year.
I thought I would get the process started today-as it is due by the end of this month.So I stopped in at our local police station to get a criminal record search done.Much to my surprise when I also asked for a vulnerable sector verification to be included(as I have for the past 16 years) I was told that things in that area had changed.The women at the counter informed me that the RCMP (our equivalent to the American's FBI) the policing body that handles these searches -now requires applicants for this search to be finger printed.I was told that  this pertains to men over a certain age who have a birthday matching that of a convicted-but since pardoned offender.So she ran my birth date on the computer,and sure enough my birthday came up as a match to some  criminal or worse yet some pervert! I balked at this and strongly exclaimed to her that "I have never committed a crime in my life-let alone been convicted of one!"
That may be true she replied "but this new policy was put in to effect to catch those offenders who may have changed their name and not notified the RCMP". This is bloody ridiculous-I have never changed my name-and this farce of a policy smacks of a police state! It also smacks me large as discrimination based on  my age and gender.  I'll be damned if as "an innocent tax paying citizen" I am going submit to having my finger prints taken to appease the police-because I share a birthdate with some scum bag.This has to be a violation of my rights under the "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms" which I quote here~"Part one  "15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."
As I told the women at the police station I will forgo that part of the search for now-as I am not sure that its even required by the towns by-law department.But more importantly I want to challenge this new policy. Fortunately for me my oldest brother is a top notch human rights lawyer-who has his own law firm out on the west coast.I called him immediately after leaving the police station.He agreed with me that this new policy appears to be discriminatory.He has asked that I fax all the information regarding it to his office and he will look into it further.Stay tuned. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Years Eve Leftovers.

Since I took a pass on working New Years Eve this year-I got roped into working New Years day.
While waiting for my first call this morning,one of our female drivers (I'll call her Candy) came over the radio.She needed help getting a guy who had passed out on her-out of her cab.The dispatcher asked for a volunteer to go give Candy a hand in trying to wake this dude up.
So with nothing else to do I went up to the address to see if I could help.
I recognized the fellow who was laying back in her front seat.He was a semi regular fare when I was working the night shift.He is one of the few good drunks you get on nights.He is never combative or abusive and always paid his fare with a nice tip on top.But man he was out cold in her cab.Candy and I tried everything to wake him up.I finally reached in-grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket, and shook him till his "chops flopped"-all to no avail.So I finally suggested to Candy that the only thing she could do was call the police.Candy had already been on the road for 14 hours-and was not impressed that she had to deal with the police.Something she had already had to do three times in the past week-tis the season.
When the police officer arrived he didn't have any more luck waking the guy up then we did.
Finally the officer put on his gloves-went over to a snow bank-made a snow ball-and stuffed it inside the guys shirt collar! What a hell of a way to get woken up-but as the officer said-"it may be cruel-but its effective"!He was damm straight on that-it did the trick- and the fellow finally came too.As I left the three of them there to sort out the fare-I thought "now there is a humorous story for my blog".
It has been a lot more pleasant this past month or so(with the exception of the bloody traffic) now that I am on the day shift.But alas not much happens that is worth blogging about-but then I guess life is all about trade offs.