9.15 | June 20, 2018 | Misunderstanding

The next few blogs will be transcripts of the latest season of Storytime with Paul Dore. Storytime is a short adrenaline shot of a podcast straight to the mind, heart or sometimes the funny bone, wherever that is located. For this season, each episode is a live recording from the monthly event Stories We Don't TellWith the release of season three of the podcast, I'll be posting the transcripts here on the blog.


Last year I wrote a three-part story that made me question the world and my place in it. Since then, I’ve had three experiences that fit under this same category. So, this is sort of a sequel. These stories are all about rules: following the rules, breaking them and so on. To quickly refresh your memory, last year’s stories were about someone wearing the same unusual shirt as me, getting yelled at while skating at an outdoor rink and people misunderstanding the concept of emergency sirens. Now for this year’s very different stories.

#1 Misunderstanding the Concept of Emergency Sirens.

Riding my bike down Bloor West, I came to a red light at Dufferin Street. There was a lot of traffic and I was at the front of a long line of bikers. Beside me was a man driving a white Toyota Corolla.

 Listen to the podcast episode by clicking on the image.

Listen to the podcast episode by clicking on the image.

I want to interject here for a moment and ask you a question. Whenever an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance or fire truck, needs to get somewhere in a hurry, they turn on bright flashing lights and loud sirens. These are to let everyone around them know that they are in a real hurry and getting to their destination in a timely manner is important. We’re all familiar with that, correct? Good.

I heard the ambulance sirens from a long way back. Whether in my car or on my bike, whenever I hear sirens, I just pull to the side of the road, you know, to get out of the way. Since I was already by the side of the road, when the light turned green, I just stayed put.

Behind me, the cars jockeyed for positions left and right. As the ambulance approached the intersection, the only person that didn’t move was the man in the white Corolla. He patiently waited at the red light, oblivious to anything happening around him.

The ambulance couldn’t fit around the white Corolla and there it sat with sirens blaring and lights flashing. I knocked on the driver’s window and yelled, “You have to move!” But he just looked at me confusingly. I pointed behind him and he sat up straight in shock, like the ambulance snuck up on him.

In this case, the driver of the white corolla misunderstood the very basic societal rule of getting out of the way of emergency vehicles. Rules that are in place to help save the life of the person in the back of that ambulance or the person they are racing towards.