Saturday, September 24, 2005

On a Wing and a Prayer

OK, just one more thing I've been meaining to get off my chest, yet again:

For a fairly long while now, I've mostly lived in close proximity to a hospital with a helipad for the local Flight For Life emergency helicopters. And, since I've long been fairly fascinated with aviation of all kinds, when one of those helicopters flies over, I tend to notice and look, wondering whether it's a news helicopter, or a Flight For Life, or something else. When I do look up, if I find that it seems to be a Flight For Life, I usually indulge in yet another habit that goes back even farther, to hearing conventional ambulances zooming past, and I sort of wish the passenger/patient well. It's the kind of thing that, if I were the religious sort, I'd be silently offering up a prayer on their behalf, but I'm not, so a wish or hope or whatever-you-will is all they get.

But of late, I've been finding myself wishing them well as they fly past, and then suddenly wincing, as I start to contemplate how different it must be for people in certain other parts of the world, and I imagine how, when they hear a helicopter approaching, their first thought certainly isn't of praying for a patient (although they're mostly the type much more inclined to pray than I am), but might rather be something along the lines of a prayer that the helicopter isn't coming to blow up their own home more-or-less at random. It really puts a damper on my wishing for any hypothetical patients when I think about how differently the whup-whup-whup noise must be taken elsewhere.

Of late, to make matters even worse, I read about rescues of victims of Hurricane Katrina, and I'll probably be reading more about Hurricane Rita soon enough. And I have much the same thoughts about those folks. Here in the U.S., that sound connotes hope, rescue, safety, and so forth. Yet elsewhere, that same noise likely strikes fear into one's heart, and the only hope it brings is the hope that it isn't coming for you.

It's just one of those things that brings up the bitterness for me, and the cynicism, and the lack of hope for the entire world, and the human race that currently dominates it.

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