Turn off my ears

Sometimes I hate working at a newspaper. The police scanner in the background constantly scratching to remind you the world can be a horrible, scary, sad, dark place. There was a homicide today and the place is buzzing about it. The other week I heard over the scanner a young girl, they always describe them, cutting herself and threatening her grandmother. I’m assuming her grandmother is the one who called the police. I’ve heard of people jumping off bridges – twice – and surviving. I’ve heard about a man walking around downtown with a hunting rifle. I’ve heard a lot of things about people who I’ll never meet, yet I’ve been given access through the wires and radio waves to pieces of their lowest points.

I went for a walk this morning and me and 3 other people were all walking to the same point. We didn’t know each other, never will, but somehow we crossed in the center of something and then split off from like a firework exploding in the sky in all different directions.

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4 Responses to Turn off my ears

  1. My newspaper experience was in features, no police scanner, but with a newsman husband and newsman father, it became normal to know that tragedies would make a good day for them. This created an acquired detachment that, once in place, colored their views of all life experiences. The question I have is this: did the work attract those inclined to detachment already or did they start out softer and become toughened by the job?

    • rachvb says:

      I work in features, too. My kind of place and I don’t want to venture to the other side at all. But I work with all the reporters and hear the scanner all the same. We are all close to each other in space.
      From what I have seen they start soft, but harden over time. If they are unable to harden then they quite. I’ve had friends who just couldn’t and didn’t want to be numb to such things.
      There are similar professions – cops, lawyers, EMT’s, doctors – who I suppose are subjected to the same things.
      I think I learned early (even in photojournalism school) that that was a side I never wanted to venture to. I didn’t feel comfortable photographing such things. I know for me I’d never be a spot news kind of gal.
      I wonder if there are both? Those who were already detached and those who detached over the years.
      Either way – I’m glad not to be among them in that way.

  2. It’s a challenge being in and of this crazy world, needing to know the shadow side of ourselves and others in order to grow compassion and yet not wanting to see so much that we become desensitized. . . our (t)ask seems to be to have both tune right in and tune right out, and I’m not sure how we do that; how we participate, accept, decline, contribute, etc. . . to the whole complex drama and still stay sane and soft-edged and generous in spirit. I suspect this is why I like to thing of us wearing breastplates (which is different to a shield, I think). . . Living IS a bit of a battle. We need some kind of protective carapace that, if worn on the heart, sill gives the heart room to expand. The amazing thing about something like a turtle shell – or a crab’s or any other such creature – is that their protective shells are more pliable than brittle and they grow as the animals do. I love that. A shield, on the other hand, suggests something rigid, impenetrable and cold. It might keep everything dangerous and unwanted out, but it never changes shape as a result of having survived the experiences. Perhaps what we need to develop are filters and flippers?
    Love to you and Marylinn from me xx

    • rachvb says:

      I think we have an internal tuner. We know when it gets too loud or too much and for our own inner safety we have to tune out the world.
      You were the first to introduce me to the idea of a carapace and (humans as needing one) and it’s such a beautiful idea. Armor that grows as we grow, moves as we move. Sometimes when I need a little extra strength I’ll add to myself necklaces from my mom and a good friend. I’ll add jewelry from the people I love and who love me and it feels in a way like I’ve added some armor.
      I wouldn’t mind some flippers, but I’d like to know that I could take them off at times =)

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