dal niente

Essentially Infinintely

Newtons: A unit measure of force.

Force: An effect.

When you think about it, consider how truly powerful a human bjody really is.  Isn’t it amazing, really?  You have a planet 12.8 thousand kilometers in diameter, exerting the force of gravity upon you.  Yet all it takes is the flexing of one finger upwards and voila: you have acted in spite of the gravitational field of an entire planet.  Isn’t the amount of power we have in each finger astounding?

Fuck, and whadya know! We’ve got ten of them!

We live by high standards though.  Sometimes, I think we should just pat ourselves on the back for getting out of bed.  Work today– as far as I, Jinryu, the trainee, goes– was a warzone.  Thankfully no casualties as far as I was concerned directly.  As the coordinator, I’ve got most of my tasks down– patient and doctor assignments go quite smoothly for me, and I managed to juggle patients in surgical, medical and fast track all at the same time but I might’ve spent too much of my focus on that, and as a result, my labwork, microbiology and virology positives logging suffered.  It was kinda fun to work under those conditions, and I’m told that Mondays are always kinda crazy madness because that’s when all the labs are open and a lot of shit is going down at once.

But it just wasn’t an easy day.  My highlight (sarcasm) was convincing a man, in front of his 12 year old daughter, that we were doing everything we could and that I really wasn’t trying to tell him that his daughter wasn’t important.  He ultimately left after waiting around for about 5 hours in the emergency room, when he could have probably waited just one more and he would have gotten his spot.  That’s not the point of my mentioning this though– he had no idea of knowing that he had about an hour left, and we had no way of guaranteeing it– I could only tell him how many people were ahead of him and explain that as a category 4, his daughter was subject to being preempted by other children with more serious conditions.  But he left, he stormed off, as if by making him wait we were directly insulting his intelligence or that somehow our actions were an insult to the importance of his daughter.

“She’s in a lot of pain,” he repeated on his third and final visit to one of my stations (at least while I was manning it).  “Who are you to tell me that there are other kids who can come after and cut in line?”

We really do the best that we can and looking at me as if you want to punch me in the face doesn’t make me come to your aid, in fact, it makes me put a counter between us so that you can’t reach me.  I will not give you that opportunity because I don’t want you to even consider doing anything stupid.

And I understand that your daughter isn’t in the best shape.

But allow me to be human for a second, and just rant:

FUCK YOU.  I am trying to smile and I am talking to you in a calm voice and I am doing everything above and beyond the book– I can think of at least 4 other coordinators that I’ve worked with so far who by now would have really told you to just wait like everyone else or who would have told you off– I’m one of the nice ones. I shit you not.  But don’t try leaning in on me, and PUT THAT LOOK OUT OF YOUR EYES.  The one that says, and I am not kidding, I recognize it, that you are thinking “listen kid, I could hurt you.”  Because, you know, coercion is the currency of healthcare.  Yeah, of course.  Because mark my words sir– if you lay a hand on me 

this “kid” will dismantle you.

Le sigh.

Of course I’d never do that.  But I’ve always said that one of the problems with training is that you become intimately aware of how fragile people really are, mentally and physicaly.  It doesn’t really take much to hurt someone in either department.  And it really does take a whole lot of control to not hurt someone when you know it would be so easy and, at least for a moment, feel so good.

The guy probably walked out of the hospital thinking that by not doing anything he’d done me a favor.  Sure, walk away with that.  To loosely paraphrase Sam Fisher, It’s my gift, asshole,  because every moment you breathe from this point on, and you don’t even know it, is a present from me.

I understand it’s not easy for the kids.  I understand it’s not easy for the parents.

But… Listen, Parents?  Did we make your kids sick?

Fuck you.  You may not beleive this but I’ve heard it before.  We’ve seen people with the same conditions as your kid.  As special as you think your kid is, your kid is so special that he or she belongs in a triage category along with an entire waiting room full of kids with the same number.  Join the fucking club.

We can do this the easy way or the hard way.  It’s the Parents’ choice.

And the better choice seems obvious– why do we even need to take out a fucking coin?

I’d gotten about 6 hours of sleep the night before so I would normally have been in passable condition upon arrival at work, except that playing badminton and doing some sparring on Saturday required a few extra hours of sleep to get my body geared right, which I didn’t get.  So I started off the day a little bit tired but well, I suppose I was still pretty well grounded in the fact that I’d spent a simple weekend simply.  Aside from the dude who got on my case, it wasn’t a bad day at all and though I’m still a bit short of being on par, as a trainee it’s still on par for the course and I think I’m getting the hang of things pretty well.

After work today, I went to the same mixed martial arts class that I went to last week with Alfredo, except that this time I went with Terminator.

It’s been almost 5 years since I last grappled with Terminator.  It was a fun go– almost the entire time that we were at the H2O gym for the briefest of spells, and aboout 8 years since we’d trained at the Senshido gym together.

It was good.  We’d both learned a lot of different tricks in the time apart from eachother at least as far as the matts were concerned– his groundfighting style has really evolved, in that it’s now a lot slower and more position based.  He’s also developed a pretty good ‘floating guard’ which is really really difficult for me to get around.  I feel a lot more confidence rolling with Terminator than anyone else at the class– simply because he knows what he’s doing, and doesn’t ballistically perform the locks.  He goes for position and eases into the locks to give you ample time to tap out. 

On the other end, my throw resistance has gone up.  Terminator says that it’s because my footwork and balance are a lot better; maybe that’s a side effect from the taekwondo.  Surprisingly, I managed to actually put him down 4 out of the 11 times we went to the ground.  Doesn’t sound like a good ratio, I know– but in the past, I never could take him down.  I was also quite pleased that this week, unlike last week, I didn’t feel like throwing up due to the strain on my system.

It was a good day and after rolling, throwing, slamming, pinning and locking eachother for a bit over two hours, that was it; the class was closed.  I’d worked out most of the stress from the day and I actually felt really good about things.  I remembered that I got into my line of work because of Children and Dreams and all that nice stuff, you know.  Doing martial arts will always have sentimental value to me and that’s what it makes me think of.

We’d been talking to Alfredo a bit and Terminator had the chance to roll with him for a bit.  Alfredo lost, as expected, but he learned a lot from the experience.

I’m not entirely sold on the idea of joining the club yet, but I’ll see how it goes and what Terminator wants to do.  I don’t exactly feel like joining all on my own because I need a partner who is really better than me in the grappling department, that way I’ll be more likely to improove and won’t be as likely to get injured.

Louis Ho, one of the first jiu jitsu guys to bring grappling to the oldschool MAC, has just recently opened up a jiu jitsu gym called 10th Planet.  He’s the brother of Richard Ho, with whom they opened up the H2O gym (Ho 2, get it?) in St-Henri.  So there are also those gyms to consider… I’m sorta reluctant to join anything until my work schedule levels out after training.

Oh, and as to this picture:

It was about 6:50 pm and I got off the bus, waving goodbye to Terminator who was riding it the rest of the way to the metro.  My body had that nice afterglow of a good couple hours of training.  Those of you who do it know what I mean– it’s when your ribcage hurts a bit from flexing, the muscles here or there are a bit stiff but with every step you endure it quite easily, and it gives you this idea that, right now, you’re big.  You’re tough.  Whether or not it’s true doesn’t matter– but you feel you’ve done something that most normal people can’t, and even if not because of victory, by endurance you are a victor for deciding to test yourself in those ways.

I was switching at the corner of Newman and Dollard to another bus that would take me home.  It’s the same bus stop for both busses.  Then I see this girl walking towards the bus stop, and she’s crying.  At first I think she’s talking on her cellphone, and it’s something like boyfriend drama or something.  She’s probably 16 years old.

And then suddenly, she just kinda half stumbles, half crumbles.  At first I figured she slipped, so to save her some embarassment I look the other way.  Or I was embrassed at noticing something like that, because you know me, my first dark response is to internally think “pff! Drama queen!” Because I’m that jaded.  Then looking back, I realize that she hasn’t gotten up, and is still crying.

She actually asks me, and she’s about ten meters away so at first I didn’t think she was calling at me in french: “Sir! Sir, I need help!”

So I rush over and she tells me that she’s in a great deal of pain.  I ask her what happened, she can’t answer.  I ask her if someone hurt her and I stand up, suddenly feeling the need to assess my surroundings.  I start looking around the parked cars in case someone’s out there.  She says nobody hurt her, but she’s hurt and she can’t walk.  She’s not just sobbing, like, crying out audibly– she’s got tears streaming down her face.

I ask her what’s wrong again because it’s been a long day and I feel kinda dumb in retrospect for repeating the question, but maybe this time I’ll get an answer.  She just keeps on saying how she’s in pain.  I ask her did she twist her ankle?  Did you break a bone or something?

No. No.

I ask her then can I get her to a hospital?  Do you want to call your parents?

She says yeah, she wants to go to a hospital.  I look around and don’t see any taxi cabs immediately.  Without giving it much thought, and still tense, looking around as if expecting someone to jump me from behind (which is… well, sorta ridiculous, considering how Newman and Dollard is a pretty busy intersection with tons of cars passing all the time).  Am I paranoid to think that a 16 year old african american girl is bait for a street mugging? I don’t know what I thought, except that I didn’t like this situation because I didn’t know exactly what was going on.  There were no controls.

I whisked out my phone and dialed 911.  Someone picked up immediately and it actually caught me off guard, and I explained the situation.

You know, in the back of my head, I was still watching to see if my bus was arriving.  You know?  Here’s what was on my mind while this was going on:

  • I haven’t had a meal since 11AM.
  • It’s -30 degrees Celsius out here (I’m not even exaggerating) and that doesn’t even include the wind.
  • I want a shower.
  • I want to sleep.
  • I’ve had enough of this “Emergency” business at work for a day, thank you very much.

I didn’t want to help her, quite frankly.

So I start giving 911 information and ask for an ambulance.  I actually thought to myself– it’ll probably be faster to get her in a taxi, and honestly, I just wanted to pay the 20$ for a taxi ride to dump the responsibility on someone else– but I figured that wouldn’t be right.  Fuck, let’s just wait for an ambulance.  What if it was something serious– I’d rather have some ambulance people around.

In any case, she refused the taxi so I didn’t really have much in that direction.

So I’m talking on 911 with the lady and she’s asking me questions to ask the girl and I’m asking her but she’s not answering anthing useful, just that it hurts a lot.  911 tells me an ambulance is on it’s way.  I tell the girl she can’t be lying there on the ground all day, it’s freezing– if whatever she’s got wrong with her doesn’t kill her first, the cold will, we have to get her inside.  I ask her if she can get up, she can’t.  I try to help her up and she does with a lot of fuss and tears, and I again ask her if she’s got broken bones or if she’s injured or something, but she says no, just that she’s in a lot of pain.  What the fuck does that mean?? TELL ME SOMETHING MORE USEFUL. Argh, dammit!  Hold the phone, I tell her, talk to 911.  I’m going to carry you into that videostore (about 50 meters away) so you can warm up.  For some reason, there’s like nobody on the street (perhaps because it’s so cold, and I just missed a bus).

I pull my bandana over my face.  I don’t know what’s hurting this girl but fuck, I hope it’s not contagious.  Having done a fair share of piggyback and fireman-carry training in Korea (part of the taekwondo training was to carry around my 200lbs training partner, T-Bird, on my back and ‘run’ laps) I’m no stranger to lifting bodies around.  I pick her up fireman style and start marching towards the video store when she just starts crying like crazy into the phone as if she’s being raped, and I put her down in a panic fearing that maybe she had  a broken rib puncturing her lungs or something.  It certainly sounded like she did.

So, moving her was out of the question.

By now, another girl had noticed this little scene and she came, and I half expected her to spray me with a can of mace.  I mean, picture it– you see a dude pick up a girl and she’ doing nothing but cry and scream that it hurts it hurts.

I think my appearance was the only thing that stopped this second girl from trying anything, because it’s not everyday you see someone wearing a hat and a bandana covering everything except squinty eyes.  I’ll probably looked like a terrorist, or a kidnapper, or a rapist, or a terrorist who kidnaps and rapes.

In french, she was like, “what’s going on!”

“She’s sick! She needs to get to a hospital!” I say.  Thankfully the girl, now back on the ground, is at least sensible enough to coroborate with my story.

It’s really fucking cold out there and she’s still on the phone with 911.  She’s wearing a stylish kinda of jacket, the kind that really isn’t warm.

“Are they coming yet?” I ask.

She kinda nods.  With the other girl, we manage to drag the injured/sick one against the bus stop so at least it will break the wind for her.  I half consider giving her my jacket, which is a 700 grade downfeather North Face jacket, but then I resist the urge to act hastily– it only works as an insulator.  The minute I take it off, it’s no better than a windshield, it won’t warm her, and I’m going to die out here. So I keep it on.

The next few minutes are me waiting impatiently for an ambulance.  I’d already missed my bus– amazingly, it passed by, and people who had gotten off didn’t seem to care or notice or care to notice  that there was a crying person sitting against a bus shelter.  Eventually we saw the ambulance.  I started waving my arms and from a fair distance away (I was impressed) they spotted me– they drove straight into incoming traffic on one of LaSalle’s busiest streets and just turned in to park right behind us.

The ambulance techs helped her to her feet. I got my phone back and I saw my bus coming a few minutes later. I just jumped on and didn’t even look back.

I was tired, hungry, and cold.  That’s all I was thinking.  My bus came every 20 minutes, but I’d just missed one when I first got there, then because of the situation I’d missed another, so I was out there for almost 40 minutes. 

When I got home, my dad asked me why I was late.  This is one advantage of living back at home– sometimes, it’s someone else’s turn to cook.  He was heating up my food.  I’d run from the bustop at the corner of my street to my home so I was totally out of breath, and plus, i was still freezing.  I sorta explained what happened quickly to my mom and dad, and told them that I was going to throw myself into the shower because I wasn’t feeling too hot.  Hah.  Not feeling too hot? Get it?

I took a 10 minute shower under boiling hot water.

Afterwards, I have my meal, and now that I’m feeling better, I have some dinner while my parents sit about the table and we have a little chit chat about the day’s events.

You know what came to mind?

As I was on the bus from that intersection to home?

That girl in no way looked like Flynt.  And she was younger than Flynt was the last time I saw her.  And that isn’t the situation that Flynt was in, really.  I just imagined Flynt there, on the bus, sitting next to me.  It didn’t creep me out because I was conscious of the fact that I was doing that– but it did weigh me down, really heavy, and it has nothing to do with the crying girl today but I wonder,

did Flynt cry?  Did she feel helpless?  Cold?  Alone?

It was the first time the thought of Flynt came to my forethoughts in a long time.

I can say I miss her, but I don’t really, I can say that I wish she was there sitting with me, but I guess I don’t.  I don’t need her anymore, not like that, I’ve honestly moved on.  But she’s part of me, so much so that I don’t think about it anymore because I’ve lived a lot beyond then.

But you know– sometimes you don’t want to reflect.  You don’t want to define yourself anymore, you just want things to sorta dull, and there she was, a like a ghost.  I’m not sure what to think about what happened, just that I’d rather it hadn’t, and not even for the sake of that crying girl.

It’s the tiredness talking.  Thankfully, I work in the afternoon tomorrow so I’ll have more than enough time to rest for the night.

We are strong enough to lift our fingers– and that is titanic.  It takes an entire planet to pull down a feather.

Yet how much force does it take to hurt? To be hurt?

And some of the biggest hurts aren’t even visible.

And I was feeling pretty moody about it, until i happened upon the news post at  Penny-Arcade. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/2009/1/26/) .  That made me feel good again.  So I leave you all tonight on a lighter note.  And note as you read it: I played Street Fighter 4 entire MONTHS ago in Macau, that’s how cool I am. 🙂

In any case, writing about it all made me feel better about it all.

Stay safe out there folks: and Happy new year!

I hope tomorrow is more boring.

 From Penny Arcade:

We stopped by Gameworks on Sunday night before heading over to the Video Games Live concert. We had heard that they had a Street Fighter 4 machine and we all wanted to check it out. They did have the machine and when I saw it I was instantly transported back to my youth. The arcade culture that surrounds a new machine like this was in full effect and it was something I hadn’t witnessed since I was a kid playing fighting games like Virtua fighter and Killer Instinct. Chairs had been scrounged up and placed around the cabinet. There was a steady stream of people going up against one guy who had been running the machine for a while. It was like watching people being fed into a chipper shredder. He dismantled each new player without ever giving up a single win as long as I watched. I snapped this picture because I thought it was so awesome.

This used to be so common when I was a kid. You’d see these guys drag their girlfriends out to the arcade. Presumably to watch them destroy challenger after challenger. The girls would always sit there on a stool popping their gum or reading a magazine. In my young mind there was nothing more awesome than these cabinet kings and their bored harem. My dream was to someday have a girl of my own, who would grudgingly accompany me to the arcade of my choice. Then she would sit in silent judgment as I performed my killer combos. 
It warmed my heart to see that there were still young men out there keeping the old dreams alive. 
-gabe out

Straight up, what did you hope to learn about here


I’m too exhausted to write now, but as a placeholder to remind myself, I’m leaving a picture of the ambulance that answered my call at the corner of Dollard and Newman at around 6:20pm.