Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The village of the happy nice people

Walking home today we found a man lying lifeless on the cobbled pavement outside a kitchen design place. Upon closer inspection he proved to be semiconscious, but unable to move or speak coherently. Next to him I found a very large, almost empty bottle of Latvian vodka wrapped in a blue plastic bag. Let’s call that exhibit A.

As I was trying to wake the man up, the kitchen guy came out, careful not to bang the man’s head on the door. The man had fallen over just a few minutes earlier, blocking the entrance to the shop, he explained. He had already tried to call an ambulance, but the dispatcher wouldn’t send one: The man had muttered an answer when spoken to.

Sara right away called the emergency number, and using an array of devious and eerily familiar social engineering techniques she convinced the dispatcher to send an ambulance. There wasn’t much I could do for the man in terms of CPR, seeing as he’d chosen to put himself in a nice, stable recovery position with no risk of choking.

While we were waiting at least eight or nine people stopped to check what was going on. A shy young man on his way to recycle two plastic bags full of bottles even stopped and waited with us, eagerly scouting for the ambulance. It arrived 25 minutes after Sara’s call.

This was obviously not a priority rescue; they weren’t speeding and didn’t use the siren. That being said, the rescue people were very nice and professional. Two men and a young woman sent to patrol the frontier of compassion armed with cheap rubber gloves. I don’t envy them.
There’s no point to this story other than what’s revealed in the components: The welfare state, rusty at the hinges, but functioning. Civic duty fulfilled, and if not by us, then thankfully by any one of eight, nine other people eager to help. The socio-medicinal disease that is alcoholism. Or, depending on one’s point of view, alcohol used as a deliberate control mechanism against the lumpenproletariat.

Most of all the indignity of that poor man’s situation, lying there with his ass crack revealed for all to see.

8 Comments:

Anonymous maître said...

any mention of the velferdsstaten; man it makes me chuckle..

2:38 pm  
Anonymous ungovernable said...

i tried that with a unconscius inuit woman on istedgade. she'd passed out outside a phone shop. they have phones there, so i went inside and told the owner a woman had collapsed outside, and if he'd call an ambulance please? he went outside and started shaking her violently, when she didn't wake up, he tried to pull her away from his shop, that didn't work to well either. then he went back inside. i was completely stunned by his behviour. then this 11 year old arab kid with some social concience lent me his phone and i called the emergency central. i told them a woman had collapsed on istedgade, the friendly copper asked me for my cpr number, then proceeded to explain to me, in a broad jutland accent, that incidents like that were pretty common in the area. Great! let's not worry, the peasants son sez it happens all the time, he must surely know what he's talking about, the nazi! being the person i am the whole situation was getting on top of my head, but argued sternly for him to send for an ambulance before handing the phone back to the sensible arab kid. By this time other not completely burned out people had stopped and asked if they should call an ambulance, i told them to do so, cos i just didn't trust the officer i'd spoken to. They promised they would wait for it because i couldn't take it no more and thus ran away, never to see if the danish welfare state really works... i don't know if i failed my duty as a citizen, but at least i tried

4:51 pm  
Anonymous maître said...

I shouted I guy out of my office building the other day. He's trying to live in the basement. I strongly oppose. In my defense he had pooped on the floor.

8:30 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...

I'm not going to rant and rave about how great the Scandinavian welfare model is, because it isn't always. And France does have a very good healthcare system, the best in the world in 2000, according to WHO. But there's more to welfare than healthcare, and one could easily argue that France is not quite up to scratch on all points. But I'm not going to because, frankly, my shoulder hurts and I'm tired.

5:29 am  
Blogger Mikkel said...

BUT I WILL SAY THIS: Say no to poop on the floor. Just say no.

5:30 am  
Anonymous maître said...

I stand the ground on poop

8:52 am  
Anonymous jesus said...

back in the day, i left more people than you can imagine; i could only perform a couple of miracles a day you know

3:42 pm  
Anonymous Satan said...

Why do you think I put them there?

6:49 pm  

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