the more i think about it, the less sure i am about how i think people internally react to the sound of sirens. i mostly mean police, fire and ambulance sirens, because those facts of life usually mean unhappy things for those involved. or maybe that's just how it makes me feel. i'm sure some people would say the sound of police sirens sounds threatening to some and comforting to others, depending on perceptions of law enforcement.
well, it might be safer to assume that most people associate the sound of a fire engine's siren with flames and destruction. that or imagining a building-full amount of occupants standing around outside annoyed with the fire drill or malfunctioning detection equipment (because that's what it 90% of the time -- to them). the again, some might associate anything fire-enginey with 9/11, which is also sad. so really, your base-line debbie downer.
ambulance sirens though - those tend to depress me the most. this can be obviously attributable to my dad, as he's a retired paramedic and firefighter. i definitely have a mental database of ways the body can be sickened or injured leading to an array of resulting conditions like miracle healings but usually to a degraded quality of life or just plain old death. my mind's an archive of stories my dad's told over the years, indexed with really specific imagery.
'when the drunk driver t-boned their car, the girl in the passenger seat flew out the window because she wasn't wearing her seat belt. she landed flat on her front, except with her head twisted severely to the side and her neck was broken. when we have to stabilize her and strap her to the board, you just can't make a mistake because you could end of paralyzing the person,' etc.
my dad is a pretty observant guy, so no detail is spared.
anyway, i heard ambulance sirens a minute ago and started to wonder what the emergency was. from the death-detail database, heart attack is a safe bed. 'even though half the time they're running the sirens and speeding to the hospital, the guy's basically already dead.'
so i stood at my window and thought of the sadness that comes with the advent of a heart attack. on such a lovely evening. the sirens sounded like they were in stanley park -- maybe it was a grandpa with his family. or a particularly calamitous bike vs car situation. just something that makes me stop and think, 'so sad.'
but death is a part of life, and it also occurred to me -- if there's any time and place to go, this is as good as it gets: