Back when I was in high school, I remember having to take the driving test multiple times because I kept fucking it up.
They’d have you sit down in front of a computer and answer basic questions before they’d let you drive or not.
In my defense, I often thought that their questions were dumb as fuck.
Like there was one where they asked “if a bunch of communists are blocking the road to protest, what do you do?”
I honestly thought “turning the windshield wipers on and speed up” was the answer!
Shortly after, I was questioned by a detective if I had run anyone over recently…
Regardless, I eventually did get the driver’s license!
As I was driving for a few years before college, I did find myself though in certain situations.
Like, for example, one time an ambulance was speeding up way behind me with its lights on.
Like others on the road, I did what was necessary by getting out of the way.
The ambulance carried on.
Sometimes, it would be a fire truck.
Same rules though…
Well, so I thought.
As they say, sometimes being exposed to other cultures teaches you unique ways of behaving.
Fuck the Latin American Ambulances
Just the other day, I had to make my way towards Centro Historico of Mexico City again for another pharmacy visit.
Had to bribe the pharmacist again for something and go on my way.
As I left the pharmacy, I noticed something funny that you sometimes see in Latin America.
There was an ambulance heading down the street with its lights on and seemingly in an emergency.
Then it got stuck in traffic.
Lots of vehicles in front of it.
No way around them.
All seemingly not giving a fuck.
None of the vehicles even trying to get out of the way.
The driver of the ambulance then began shouting into some speaker where one could hear, if you let me paraphrase for a second, something to the equivalent of….
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY YOU COCKSUCKERS!!! SOMEONE IS DYING!! SOMEONE IS DYING!!! GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY GOD FUCKING DAMN IT!!! THIS COULD BE YOUR GRANDMA!!!”
Unfortunately for the driver, little concern was given about whose grandma it was that day.
And, as I repeat, they literally did not make an inch.
None of the drivers.
Not a single one of them even tried to get out of the way.
Then the light went green.
None of them tried to get out of the way.
They made their sweet ass time carrying onwards while the ambulance itself soon found it possible to get around them.
The funny thing was that, in that moment, there was room for some of the vehicles to move to the side before the light went green.
They just didn’t give a fuck.
And, in my experience living down here, that truly seems to be the attitude of so many folks in Mexico City in regards to both fire trucks and ambulances.
Now, to be fair, I’m sure Mexico has rules on the books about getting out of the way for these vehicles.
Or I hope so anyway!
Given enough time down here, I imagine it’s one of those cases where “the rules say so but I don’t give a fuck” situations.
Where no enforcement is applied against many of the folks not getting out of the way.
It’s almost comical to me really.
Especially when the ambulance driver is basically pleading with the people “TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY!! CMON GUYS!! THIS IS WHY MEXICO IS MEXICO!! BECAUSE OF YOUUUUUU!”
And few fucks are given.
Why are few fucks given?
Honestly, in the case of the example mentioned way above, like I said, some of the folks did have room to get out of the way but chose not to.
While I have never driven a vehicle in Mexico before, my best guess is that it is a decision out of selfishness.
Where maybe the driver assumes that, by getting out of the way for a second, he risks losing his spot in traffic afterwards if someone cuts in front of him.
In my experience, as I wrote here, drivers down here do seem a bit aggressive in always trying to break the rules and fuck each other.
But that’s just a theory of mine as to why people seemingly often don’t get out of the way for ambulances.
Your guess is as good as mine and it is really a guess.
And, beyond all of that, one needs to be fair here and acknowledge that obviously it’s going to be easier for an ambulance to maneuver traffic in a small Iowan town versus that in a large Latin American capital.
Still, I don’t think that really excuses the lack of shits given by many (but not all) of the locals whenever an ambulance or a fire truck is moving down the road quickly.
Part of me also believes that, in Latin America more broadly as a generalization, it’s easier to find folks who just don’t give a shit about others.
That might not be the best way to phrase it but it’s kinda close to how I want to phrase it but not sure how.
In the same way that, as I wrote here, littering is more common by the average person down here.
Among other behaviors that you see by the locals that demonstrates a certain attitude of “fuck everyone else, I only think about me.”
Which, to end it on a positive note, obviously not everyone in Latin America thinks or behaves this way.
In fact, maybe not even a majority?
Only that, from my own personal experiences, this type of person is a little more common down here than up from where I’m from specifically in the US.
Which isn’t to say that the US also doesn’t have its fair share of people like this either.
Still, when it comes to the topic of ambulances, it’s one detail I’ve noticed about life down here that, as I said, is sometimes comical to me because of how ridiculous it is to see it compared to life back home.
Life back home meaning people actually get out of the way.
Life down here meaning “fuck you, I ain’t moving.”
The contrast is where I find it comical and, for me personally, worthy of mentioning.
Enjoy this video anyway showing the little concern for ambulances in Mexico City.
And, while this article largely focuses on Mexico as an example, I do realize that the title says “Latin America.”
That’s because I have seen this play out elsewhere in other countries.
But I think you get the point of the article already so we’ll end it here without bringing up anymore examples as they’re all the same anyhow.
Ambulance comes. Nobody cares.
If you do have any examples though of seeing this anywhere in Latin America or elsewhere in the world, drop a comment below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.