The Ambulance

One of the first metaphors I took and ran with. I remember describing it to one of my friends in a cafe early last year. She said she still thinks about it sometimes.


Traffic lights are put up to make traffic run smoothly and to keep things fair for everyone. Only ambulances are legally allowed to bypass them because only ambulances are equipped to save lives.

Many of the rules of the system are in place because, without social sanctions, most people would be utter dicks to each other, or maybe just not know how to treat each other. The power to bypass these rules would ideally only be given to those who are equipped to use that power for good.

Uncle Ben was wrong, with great power does not come great responsibility. It’s not a package deal. Great responsibility is an additional burden that a person takes up of their own volition.

(I asked HRM if it was hard being who she is, even though I already knew the answer)

Ambulances work because they are a rare occurrence. If the streets were full of ambulances jostling each other, none of them would get where they need to be in time.

Ambulances are a rare occurrence because a) they respond only to emergencies and b) they are specialized vehicles that contain equipment that no other vehicles have.


People see others who bypass the rules of the system and think not, “I want to become someone who deserves to bypass the rules of the system,” but “I want to bypass the rules of the system because it looks fun.”

IT IS NOT FUN. People affix those sirens (or were affixing, I don’t think it happens anymore) not because they wanted to save lives but because they wanted to get to the casino quicker or something dumb like that. An ambulance driver (a sane one, at least) does not go through traffic thinking, “Whee! Look how fast I’m going! Look how all these poor fucks are getting out of the way for me!” She is thinking, “Oh God, please let me get there in time.”

The people who bypass the rules of the system in order to help others have a burden that only they have the ability to bear.

The privilege (to go through traffic faster) is given to help the ambulance perform a difficult task that no other vehicle is equipped to do. People have a duty to get out of the way for it because they themselves have no ability to do what it can do.

One more way to describe my life is that I’m trying to become an ambulance.

Ambulance: instantly recognizable. has power. fast. timely. urgently needed. has trained medical professionals and expensive glass things and oxygen tanks inside = skills and resources that can be used to help others


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