Literally, “action follows belief.”
In just under 4 days, I will no longer be “kindofafireguy.” At least, not professionally.
At the moment, I don’t know what I’ll be. I have some offers in the same general field, and I’ll land on my feet. Honestly, being a firefighter will always be a part of me, no matter what career path I now follow. I intend to remain in public safety, so maybe I’ll be “kindofapublicsafetyguy.” Who knows.
My wife and I have decided to uproot ourselves from our lives here in the windswept West of Texas, and return to the lands of our youth. It is a bittersweet parting. In some ways, it will be a homecoming for the both of us, as we move closer to a place we grew up in, and a place that truly was always a part of us.
Throughout these last few years, I have spent hours upon hours trying to explain to people the differences between where I lived and where I was from. Growing up in the deep south of Louisiana, things were done a bit differently than in Texas. The advent of “Swamp People” didn’t exactly help (when I was a rookie firefighter, there was many a time I was called into the day room to “translate” the deep Cajun accents for the rest of the crew). While many of them were always tempted to make fun of the way we talk, act, and are, I was always reminded of the song “A Southern Thing” by Louisiana band Better Than Ezra. The chorus has a line that states “Don’t mock what you don’t understand / It’s a southern thing.”
It’s true. It’s a southern thing. I would jokingly tell everyone at work that as far as I concerned, they were all Yankees and might as well have been from the Northeast.
In some ways, though, it was somewhat true. My wife and I would often talk about life back “home.” The people were different. The food was different. The culture was unique. My wife became interested in genealogy a while back, and the more she researched, the more we came to understand that Cajuns are all, basically, one giant extended family. From a small exiled band came a culture and group that occupy almost an entire portion of a state.
And in a way, I’m excited to get back to that, back to “me and my honey rockin’ back and forth / light it up again with my kin and friends.”
But in a way, this was our home, too. My wife moved here over 5 years ago, and I followed behind her shortly after. This is where we first lived together. It’s where we built a life with our kids. And that is something that is hard to give up.
“Action follows belief.”
My wife and I believe that we are doing the right thing. We believe that it will be better for our kids, better for our family, better for us, to return. To be closer to the rest of our family. To get a fresh start. And so we have taken action.
“Audentes fortuna iuvat.”
Fortune favors the bold, and bold we shall be.
Man, it’s been a long time since I got on here and posted.
I could give you a list of excuses, but ultimately it boils down to me just not taking the time to sit here and write something. You would think that there should always be something to write about. Honestly, I always think there’s something going on that I need to get out.
But it rarely does.
We first responders have a tendency to repress our most basic instincts and emotional responses. Is it because we think we need to be strong at all times? Is it that we just do such a great job of compartmentalizing everything until it explodes and we’re left standing there, shattered reality around us?
This omerta, this code of silence, it follows us everywhere. There are things I see and do at work that I need to get out, need to tell someone.
But who to tell? My wife? My kids? I’m reminded far too often that my gory tales are far too much for respectable dinner conversation.
Instead of turning here, though, I sit, and I wonder about all those things I should have said, but didn’t.
And it’s a silence that is deafening.
“Something wrong bud?”
In EMS, they teach us to look for pertinent negatives. If they’re not having chest pain, not nauseated, not short on breath, then they’re probably not having a heart attack, and it’s probably something else.
My stepson has the pertinent negatives. He’s not happy, not stuffing his face, and not talking. Especially not to his mom or I. And he’s definitely not crying (he says).
Sounds like girl problems. Or at the very least a bad case of the teenage angst.
Sigh. He and his sisters have been with grandma all week, and this is what we get when he gets home.
One day at work, we ran a drug overdose call. It was my rookie’s second or third shift, and he was definitely new to the wonderful world of EMS.
We walk in to the house and find a young woman in her mid 20’s laying on the kitchen floor, barely breathing. Her boyfriend is there next to her. His parents are standing in the living room holding a baby. They’re nicely dressed, respectable people, obviously unhappy with where they are and what’s going on in front of them.
“What’d she take?”
“Fentanyl. It’s her drug of choice. She drew up a hit for me and a hit for herself, and when I came back to do mine she was like this.”
Long story short, a little Narcan later and she was awake, talking, and pissed to have come off a killer high.
When we got back to the station, my rookie walked over to me and asked me if it’s always like that.
“That dude just talked about shooting up like she’d just poured a couple shots of whiskey or something. And he had no problem telling you about it.”
You know, it’s funny. We’re not cops. When people have to call us after snorting, smoking, shooting up, etc, they usually don’t have a care in the world about telling us. It’s almost like they’re inviting you into their world as if you were an old friend.
Most people end up talking. Women talk about periods, drug users about their habits, gangsters about their babies cough that has them scared shitless.
And yet I can’t get my own kid to tell me what’s going on in his world.
Sometimes, this parenting shit sucks.