Monday, July 12, 2010


Paul is Justin's best friend from junior high. They're the kind of friends who can go their separate ways, grow, change, and years later find themselves still dressing alike. They used to have long hair and earrings, wear black t-shirts and boots that would allow you to break ribs in a fight. And somehow, over these years of growth and change they both, independent of each other, have decided to cut their hair really short, buy a lot of button-up shirts that they tuck in to their plain, light-colored, almost tapered-leg Levis, and wear work boots that for some reason make their feet look small to me.

Paul lives out in the woods, he doesn't own a cell phone, and although I hear from time to time of him dating, has never married. He seems to like it that way and I think that's interesting. I think I'd like that too, only I'm way too much of a follower to do something like not own a cell phone. His house started out as a patch of land in the middle of the forest where he used to like to go to camp and be alone. One day he decided it would be neat to have a little platform there. So he got the supplies and built a platform. Once that was up he thought maybe he could add some walls and a roof and make it more of a shelter. So he went to the hardware store and asked some questions and had a kind of cabin, and once he had a cabin, he thought he might just run some electricity and install some plumbing. And so it came to be that Paul lives in a house he built by himself in the middle of the woods. If you give a mouse a cookie... Eventually he accepted the fact that this was his home and he had to approach the people who owned the land and explain that he had accidentally built a house on their land and would they sell him the plot? Luckily they said yes.

In the past couple of years Paul has lost both of his parents to heart attacks. So the other night after he had been having chest pains all day he called an ambulance. And because his house is decidedly off the grid he went out to lie down on the front porch, as if to say "this is the spot." Even so it took the ambulance over an hour to find it. When they got there he just waited, motionless, in pain, and exhausted on the porch. Only, they weren't coming. The driver had gotten out of the ambulance with no problems. The passenger, though, had gotten out, twisted his ankle, and inexplicably went into convulsions. So the driver rushed to his side and started trying to bring him out of it. After about fifteen minutes Paul was able to lift his head from the porch only to find a medical emergency taking place in his front yard. After about thirty Paul decided that maybe he wasn't having a heart attack after all and walked down to see what was going on. The first EMT had gotten the second EMT loaded in the ambulance and then asked Paul if he still needed to go to the hospital. Paul said to forget it. For some reason that probably has to do with paperwork though, if an ambulance is called then the person who called it is encouraged to go to the hospital. So Paul climbed up front into the seat of the former passenger/current patient. Since Paul was feeling better and he could use the help the driver gave Paul the responsibility of checking to make sure the other EMT's oxygen mask was on, and to see that he wasn't choking or swallowing his tongue, also if he heard any odd beeping make sure his vitals were alright. If you give a mouse a cookie...

The EMT ended up being okay, the driver even confided to Paul that "he does this all the time." Paul is also okay, despite being a little irritated that that first EMT didn't even bother to run up there and check on him. He's still not considering getting a cell phone.

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