Tag Archives: sf

On the Engine

I’m currently a firefighter intern stationed at Engine 3 in downtown San Francisco. They are the busiest engine company in the entire country averaging over 10,000 calls per year. Our primary coverage area is a squalid 50 square block neighborhood called the Tenderloin; the largest drug ghetto in the United States. Crack. Feces. Meth. Vomit. Needles. Stabbings. Blood. Shootings. Alcoholics. Urine. Bodies. Glass. Noise. Mayhem. As much as you can handle.

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We never get a call to rescue a group of swollen titty’d sorority chicks stuck in an elevator. No way. We only get patients whose sex is a mystery until you cut off their piss-soaked pants with trauma shears. Patients rotting from the inside out from a lifetime’s worth of drugs, booze and stupidity. They stand on the corner all day shooting up and assaulting each other, and when one of them drops, we get the call.

Monday morning we ran 17 calls before lunch. Most departments are considered busy if they run that many in a week. I had chugged a Monster Energy drink before we pulled out of the engine bay on our first run. 5 back-to-back calls later – I had that nagging pain in the abdomen, where if I knelt down too quickly I’d leak a little. My angry bladder eventually found relief – lesson learned. The medic I work along side tells me to never kneel down beside a patient as I had done earlier, “around here you’ll end up with a syringe in your kneecap”. Two lessons learned.

The day progresses: I’m crawling into the back of a smashed up sedan to stabilize a driver’s neck, Naloxone vaporized into the nostrils to revive a heroin overdose, pouring water into the eyes of a pepper-sprayed, spitting tranny. Alcohol poisoning, chest pains, pediatric seizure, sliced fingers, allergic reaction… never a dull moment.

Some apartments we’re called to, you literally have to shovel your way through garbage just to get to them. Yesterday this old codger fell in his apartment and had been laying there for almost 2 days, he owned a huge tropical parrot caged in the corner. During the fall, his dentures must have flown out of his mouth and into an adjacent flower pot filled of dead stems and dirt… or that’s where he keeps them. the crew doesn’t miss a beat.  Get a set of vitals, put him on a stretcher, feed the bird, away we go.

Another call was a DOA (dead on arrival) – that is to say, if we had arrived 4 days ago. He had started to decompose around his face, blood pooling in the extremities, the apartment was rank with biology; his patient little dog sat confused by his side while we hooked up EKG leads. The TV still on, broadcasting the Olympics. We notify the coroner, call PD, call animal control, on to the next. Unfortunately, these eerie scenes will probably replace fond memories of being on a beautiful beach in Ko Chang with my lady or something. The brain is just like the bladder, it can only hold in so much before it causes pain. You’ve gotta find a release or go crazy. Writing is like kneeling down – leaking a little.

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The 9th Floor

Since moving into my 9th floor studio apartment almost three years ago I’ve had a front row seat to the infamous putrid Tenderloin circus that roils below. A hodgepodge of crippled cavemen, deformed hookers, and drug-addled human trash that shuffle up and down the soiled sidewalks every day looking for pills or a cozy place to puke; scraping the cement cracks for cigarette butts or anything combustible enough to throw in a pipe. You know when you leave a dog to it’s own devices in the backyard for an afternoon it will inevitably manage to roll around in it’s own shit? Well that’s like the people in my neighborhood… but let’s not be silly, even dogs clean themselves, a trivial concept for a community of drug addicts all suffering from methadone-relaxed anuses.

The 9th floor. San Francisco 2014

This degree of squalor and human sludge wouldn’t fly in a war torn suburb of Yemen let alone in any community in America. However, San Francisco is the most liberal city in the USA and this somehow translates to a tolerance and understanding of a crack smoker’s right to urinate and explode his bowels over every square-inch of my neighborhood while the police sit in their cruisers hypnotized by the glow of their iphones, trading seeds on Farmville.

In the span of three years I have witnessed multiple assaults, 4 large apartment fires, countless shouting matches, 1 shooting, a store owner throwing fruit at a dealer on the corner, some drunk slapping his old lady around, CPR being performed on a junkie, and every night the trash is put out on the curb the troglodytes empty it looking for something to salvage… and there I am in the nosebleed section, 9 floors up, watching it all unfold night after night – usually after 2am because meth heads tend to get a late start on their day.

The building I live in is an old renovated 1930’s high-rise. The windows are still the original ones from 80 years prior, they swing wide open and if one were so inclined could fit a television or medium sized teenager through the large opening they provide – no screens, no stops; they certainly wouldn’t prevent anyone from throwing butter, stale tortillas or avocado pits out of them in order to fight some street crime. Around midnight, as the drunken Neanderthals climb out of their burrows, I’m up in my Texas School Book Depository gathering fuzzy strawberries and mold stricken boiler potatoes armed and ready to inflict swift justice on the approaching motorcade of tweekers.

So far I’m proud to say that I’ve broken up 2 fights with butter and mandarins. And hopefully word will  spread throughout the Homo-Erectus community not to venture down my block after dark.

Driving Me Crazy

Every car horn in this city represents one greasy pube who slipped through the drain at the DMV. Either that or it’s a San Francisco bus driver. Some of them sound like they’re practicing CPR on the damn steering column.

But I can’t blame them – if I had to drive for a living in this city I would’ve guzzled drain cleaner by now.

Stupidity is everywhere you look…

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Some oblivious turdsack stopped at a green light, browsing Tinder instead of driving. [HONK!]

Another horse cunt, cutting across 4 lanes without signaling [HONK!]

And GOD help us all if the driver’s an Asian woman,  Jesus H. Christ… you may as well be throwing grenades out the window, it’d be less of a risk to life and property. [HONK!]

Of course, if you get worked up enough to honk at these clowns, they give you the finger. That’s how stupidity works, it can’t stand the sight of itself.