Last Monday, I was awoken by the sound of a large bang at around 1:30 in the morning. I had assumed it was a garbage truck doing an off-hour pickup. I looked out my window, a car’s front end was smashed in. I opened my room door because I heard one of my roommates’ door open. I saw someone in a dark haze. He said: “There was a car crash. There is a lady unconscious.” I had assumed it was my roommate’s boyfriend, who happens to be a paramedic. A few seconds later, another door opens and the paramedic boyfriend comes out of his room. It turns out my other roommate ran down to check out the situation. Upon further inspection, it was a man driving the car and not a lady. He had just assumed it was a lady.
After about 3 minutes, the paramedics arrive. Surveying the scene we tried to piece together what happened. Pulling together, we combined crime scene skills which consisted of about 62 episodes of CSI (the original, none of that spin off crap). We came to the assumption that the car was trying to make a left turn and the Starbucks truck accidentally clipped the car spinning it around and creating havoc. You guessed it – wrong. The paramedics and firefighters could smell booze the second they opened the car door. The car was excessively speeding, lost control and hit head on to the Starbucks truck while it was making a delivery. Further watching the scene, the paramedic boyfriend assumed his aunt may show up as she was an EMT paramedic (a higher level paramedic) as there is only one EMTs for all of Vancouver. She didn’t arrive.
Everyday we live and breathe assumptions. We do it to quickly survey a situation and make calls when haste is needed. Is that gang member going to approach me or is that even a gang member? Do I have enough time to pass the soccer ball or can I make a break for it? We make snapshot assessments of situations to fill in the mental gaps. Sometimes we guess right, but like on Monday, sometimes all your assumptions gets shot down by the facts of real life. I, like you, am probably not going to stop making them. I think the lesson is to use those as a temporary placeholder ready to replace with the the true reality. Whatever that is.