Everyone has been in that annoying situation where a task is set and you are supposed to accomplish said task with the help of one, or multiple, complete strangers. Ok, maybe not complete strangers, maybe just a seldom talked to classmate, a co-worker you know by sight but your seperate “circles” don’t “co-mingle”. In any case, you are now going to be spending undetermined amount of hours with this individual (or individuals) working on a project that is important to complete well (whether for a good grade or for the simple sake of not getting fired). Novels could be written about the frustrations that result.

I submit that riding an ambulance offers up a deeper and often more complicated forced relationship. It is not just a project that has an eventual end, it is your job. Every shift. Every day. Every week. Every month. You get the picture. I have had a wide range of partnerships on the ambulance-from obssessive compulsive to lazy, from politically incensed (lots of NPR) to the pregnant and hormonal- but my most recent partnership brings a certain something extra to the table. In a nutshell, he farts. Constantly.

My partner is an excellent medic, with more experience than I and a wonderful easy going personality that makes the ride enjoyable. He likes to game (PSP, XBox, WoW), is a sucker for the adoption fairs at PetsMart, and is devoted to his “woman” as he affectionately calls her. My last partner and I had a rough initial two weeks, she doesn’t warm up to people very quickly and I was no exception. We were also polar opposites which didn’t make matters easier. My partner now, however, is very comfortable easing into the partnership role. Maybe a little too comfortable.

My first night on the ambulance he started talking about farting. Too late I received a text message from his woman warning me to establish a “no fart policy” ASAP. At this point, my fellow medic had already stepped outside of the ambulance multiple times to relieve himself of some extra pressure. I began learning about his reputation for clearing out entire Fire Departments after using the facilities. He told me unabashedly that he had bowel surgery as a small child and the variety of sounds and smells he now produced was a long standing side effect.

Since then, I have been subjected to the widest array of farting noises I have ever encountered from one human being. He could be his own museum. Artillary fire, tractors, the revving of motorcycle engines, trumpets, pig squeals, splats, rumbles, groans, you name it. So far he has only let loose the quieter, but far more potent ones, inside the ambulance a handful of times. Often he is cat-napping, and apparently the rule is he can’t be held accountable for anything that happens when he is asleep. Convinient. If he’s awake, and it’s silent (a rarity in and of itself) he can’t help but giggle within the first few seconds so I get a warning.

So next time you bemoan a partnership, just think to yourself. Is it 12 hours at a time, every day (or in my case night) you work, for months on end? Are you forced by the nature of your job to spend the majority of those 12 hours in the cab of a vehicle with said partner? Does your partner have non-stop flatulance issues? No? Quit whining.


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