Bank Holiday Mondays are notoriously qui-. . . . wait, I shouldn’t use the “Q” word hey. Let me rephrase that . . . Bank Holiday Mondays are notorious for having ‘less jobs’.
I’m not entirely sure why this is. Some think it’s because patients don’t have to call an ambulance to supply them with an excuse to stay off work – seeing as it’s already a national holiday. Others reckon it’s simply because all our patient’s have buggered off on holiday.
Whatever the reason, the phenomenon remains . . . it’s one of the only days where our call levels potentially drop.
On the car, I had been able to get into the City center and had even managed to get out of it to soak up some rays. Such frivolous behaviour brings with it it’s own risks . . . cue, a massive onslaught of tourists all wanting directions and/or information . . .
Tourist 1: Which way is it to Leicester Square?
Binder: That way
Tourist 2: Is it this way to the Savoy?
Tourist 3: Which way to the tube station
Binder: That way
Tourist 4: We’re here to see a play . . . is the theatre this way?
Tourist 5: Can you tell me where Jamie Oliver’s restaurant is?
Binder: That way
Tourist 6: Who’s going to win tomorrow? Blues or Reds
Tourist 7: What’s the weather going to be like this week?
Binder: 20% chance of precipitation
Tourist 8: What’s the capital of Syria?
Tourist 9: What time does my flight leave?
Tourist 10: Did I leave my iron on?
Tourist 11: Should I fake my orgasms?
Tourist 12: My finger hurts . . .
Binder: Go away
And thus it continued – a relentless barrage of geographical trivia mixed with general knowledge requests. I didn’t mind though – it was nice to be outside. And it was equally nice, just once, not to be spat at/sworn at/pissed on/shat on/vomited on/kicked/punched/bitten/scratched or pushed. So, I smiled and did my best to please the general public.
But then, an old couple approached me . . .
“Hello, are you security?”
“Security? God bless . . . ” I chuckled as if we’d all find this funny. But seeing their dead pan expressions staring back at me, I coughed and straightened up. “No, I’m a paramedic. How can I help?”
“Oh sorry, you look like security dressed like that . . . ” they gestured toward my stab vest. “Anyway, we thought we should bring to your attention the bag that’s been sitting over there,” they pointed to a lonesome black rucksack . . . sitting on it’s own . . . unclaimed . . . looking suspect . . . by a fence . . . in a hugely crowded area in the center of London. “It’s been there for quite a while now. We’re guessing we can leave you to possibly do something about it?”
My shoulders dropped . . . instantly I could see where this was going. And I couldn’t ignore it either. Looking around at the area I was in, there must of been a couple of thousand people – shoppers, tourists, workers, eaters, buskers (and the huge crowds watching them), pub goers – the lot. They would all have to be evacuated . . . and the security police, “wire cutter” bomb disposal bods, sniffer dogs, armed police, LFB, LAS and probably all media crews brought in. And it would all be on my call!
Now I’m almost certain the bag was left by some French school girl. I’d seen a large group of them sitting there only twenty minutes earlier . . . but, you have to take these things seriously so . . . I plucked my hand set radio from my shoulder and buzzed in. Obviously, saying out loud on the radio, in the middle of a built up area, in plain hearing distance from those around you, that you think the bag in front of you could be a suspected bomb, might not be the brightest of things to do. So, we use a coded message to help us out. And, after committing to Control and declaring the bag as suspect I retreated back to my car and waited.
Within seconds a small group of young girls came skipping over to the rucksack where one of them picked it up and put it on her shoulder. I leapt out of the car and and headed toward them pressing the “priority” call button on my handset. Instantly, the radio beeped into life.
“Cancel! Cancel! Cancel! Red Base . . . the bag has now been retrieved by a school kid. Cancel down the last request”
“No worries Z948* – everything cancelled. Thank goodness for that hey”
So relieved was I that the center of London didn’t have to be evacuated or blown up, that I then proceeded to nervously berate the small contingent of girls. And, after my short outburst – during which I couldn’t help but burst out laughing – the girls stared back at me flummoxed.
“erm, je suis désolé. Je comprends pas . . . erm”
Oh bless. None of them spoke English. So, using a series of gesticulations and typically English slow and loud enunciation I attempted to tell and describe to them what they had very nearly managed to cause. So engrossed in my visual display was I that I failed to notice the growing crowd of intrigued people around me all piping up with offerings of assistance . . .
“Film?! . . . Three words! . . . First word . . . Two syllables . . .”
Of course, the school kids didn’t understand a single thing I was trying to say or do so . . . eventually, I threw my hands up in the air and let them go.
Glancing at each other they all twiddled their fingers in a circle round their ears then waved at me before running off back into the crowds,
“Merci Monsieur, au revoir fou”
I let out a deep sigh, turned around and headed back to the car chuckling to myself. Think I might stay clear of the city centre for a wee bit hey.
*not my real call sign hey