Sometimes, when there was nothing else we could do, we would just drive fast. We called it, “Diesel therapy.”
I spent close to seven years on an ambulance, serving the city of Toronto as a paramedic. They were seven of the best years of my life. If I accomplish nothing else in this life, I’ll have accomplished something, those day shifts and night shifts, that blended into the stream of time, one emergency after another.
Perhaps the need for diesel therapy developed my taste for speed. It was, after all, an essential skill, when it mattered. I entered Toronto Emergency Medical Services at a crucial time in the service’s history – a time of shortage, when only a handful of ambulances were available to service the sprawling metropolis of some 3 million people at the city’s daytime peak. I recall dispatch calling me on the radio, letting me know I was the only unit available for the entire city of Toronto. “Stage at Yonge and Eglinton,” they’d say, placing me at the city’s cross-hairs, best placed to respond in any direction. It was a heavy burden, but an honour.
We ran a fleet of Ford E-350 7.3-litre diesels when I first started, and diesel went a long way to save many lives. But today we face a different reality. One where, due to lock-downs, the sick and infirm suffer at home, often alone.
Be it your car, a lease or a rental, I believe in gasoline therapy. A drive to the park, a drive to get groceries, or maybe just a drive. Automobiles have always captured the embodiment of freedom, and perhaps now more than ever, a little gasoline therapy is medicine to the soul.
You don’t have to know the destination. I suppose there may be a law or rule that dictates you do – but the cliché rings true: it’s the journey, not the destination that matters most.
I invite you to take the long way home. Open up the throttle through that on-ramp. Blip the throttle at the red light. Let a smile melt through as you light them up.
At a time of limited freedom and mobility, gasoline is an elixir of liberty. It pours into chambers of revolt, exploding one piston at a time, propelling you to what’s ahead.
The future is unsure, but our past is intertwined with our purpose. Don’t forget what matters to you most as you plot your way forward. Don’t abandon the good with the outdated, or what’s considered obsolete. And when the spirit moves you; when you feel the need, or someone you love needs a breath of fresh air, don’t forget the power of gasoline therapy. It might be the best medicine there is.
[Photo credit: Pinterest-RU]