It is strange to see emergency service vehicles whizzing through traffic as part of daily life. The air buzzing with three different kinds of sirens each day is a bit disorienting. While identifying the difference in the sirens would sure take some time, I wonder how long it would take to get used to them, or if one should even get used to them in the first place.
I read someone on Quora differentiate between the sounds as WUWUWUWU, WOOOOH (little pause) WOOOOH, and WOOOOOOOWOOOOOOO (honk honk) WOOOOOOOOWOOOOOO. That takes care of problem number 1.
As for problem number 2, I’m still programmed to associate these sounds with danger and mishap. Back in India, I never saw a fire truck on the road. PCR vans and interceptors were a common sight, but a police jeep with a ringing siren still pricks people’ s ears and makes them follow the vehicle as long as their eyesight allows them, as if they would perhaps see the culprit getting caught. Ambulance sirens were not uncommon, but quite often the driver would start the siren when stuck in traffic. Heads would turn and eyebrows would rise in disbelief, but people would try to squeeze and make way anyway. Fortunately, it’s the one sound in traffic that tunnels through the blaring honks and makes people consider others’ problem and predicament.
All the sirens catch people’s attention, no matter where they are.
This is something I can’t forget, and I can’t stop noticing and following these vehicles either. The resounding cacophonies have a way of jolting me. What’s strange though, to me at least, is how often emergency service vehicles are spotted on the road in major cities in USA.
I don’t take it as the laity here being more careless and brutish. There’s a lot more to it, and since I’m not aware of all things at this moment, I shall leave it at that. For starters, it could be argued that it’s a sign of promptness in responding to emergency situations, and how the personnel are dispatched with the worst situation in mind. These are points that would surely make you nod like a bobblehead.
More than the frequency of their appearance, it is the lack of attention they receive from others that surprises me. It surprises me because it’s new to me, but it does not astonish me. Because that’s what people do, that’s what we do.
We get used to things.
No matter how alarming the situation, we get tired of being flabbergasted or shocked. We even get tired of being dazzled. You look at verdant meadows and your eyes sparkle. Talk to the locals there and you might find someone who’d simply shrug. When you first go to Mumbai in monsoon and spend a day or two trapped on the way home from office, you can’t believe nature’s capriciousness. You then hear a co-worker give you weather forecast nonchalantly, and with an accuracy that would give the weather department a run for their money. You go to India’s newest union territories, and you learn that terrorism is just a word, one word that fails to capture everything about life and is just a part daily interaction, like hello.
Maybe it’s just the way people react to things that varies, for I refuse to believe that people forget to feel things. We just don’t reflect on them when they become part of life, for who ponders the mundane?
What’s one thing you have gotten used to that you shouldn’t have?
First posted on Agyani’s Stories