After a pretty substandard day of house hunting, #1GF! and I were going over to her brother’s house for dinner. On our way out of Hull, we noticed a group of people looking over the edge of a bridge. Because something didn’t look right, I asked #1GF! to pull over.
For the next half hour, I ended up holding several different ropes to aid in the rescue of some kayakers who were trapped under a bridge in a rapidly rising tide. The real heroes were in the water, but if you see the story on the news, I was the guy in the white ringer t-shirt and sunglasses holding the ropes that were holding up the ladder that one of the rescuers was standing on.
With the aid of two fire departments, two local police departments, the State Police, the Harbor master, and a bunch of civilians, three kayakers and one fireman were eventually pulled to safety.
After a couple of miles of silence, #1GF! and I started talking about it.
Me: I’m glad we stopped.
#1GF!: Yea, it feels good to be needed.
Me: Nah. I don’t really need to feel needed.
#1GF!: Well, it feels pretty good to help people.
Me: Yea, but I think it was something else. It’s like someone said that it was very important to hold on those ropes, and I held on to the ropes. I couldn’t see or control what was happening to the kayakers, so all I could do was focus on holding onto the ropes and watching the guys in front of me in case they lost their balance. That’s it. Whether the kayakers came out or not, I was going to hold those ropes until I was told that it was no longer critical to do so.
#1GF!: I was waving off another idiot kayaker who was coming in for a closer look. I’m still shaking.
Me: That’s because you have a lot of empathy. I’m pretty relaxed. It’s like when I listen to death metal, you know? I’m calmer in the middle of a shit storm than when I’m trying to decide what to have for dinner. Remember when they pulled that old lady out?
Me: Well, I was getting pissed at her because she wouldn’t put her legs down and stand up. The woman had been drowning under a bridge, and I’m thinking, “Get yourself together, put your fucking foot down, and help them get you over the guard rail”. The woman was scared and sobbing, but I was more focussed on the task than on how scared she must’ve been. That’s low empathy. Maybe I really should’ve taken that Army scholarship years ago. The army needs people with low empathy and the ability to focus on tasks. But, then I probably wouldn’t be here today if I had.
#1GF!: Sort of makes you want to be a fireman, huh?
Me: You know, it really does.
The whole thing is still a bit muddled in my head, but here’s the rescue video from CityNews and another one from iCaught.