Алексей Фукс (afuchs) wrote,
Алексей Фукс

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An exact account of what transpired but several days ago on a playground in Berlin

​A couple of days ago, actually: the fire brigade theme playground, full of mock firefighter equipment and wooden shacks painted in primary colour flames, and all the kids are excited because the real fire brigade is coming. A buxom 5-y.o. gets into a tube made of steel wire, on a slide-related wood-and-metal installation, which tube goes off a platform at about 2m height and loops onto the next platform, but the girl does not get far into the tube, finding her knees stuck between the wires at about 50cm distance from the opening, which allows the mom to crawl in and get one knee unstuck. I did not observe the sticking-in process, but pointed at the tube to tell L.'s dad J. that while his 2-y.o. had no problem crawling through the whole tube, as I had been able to observe on another occasion, my 3.5-y.o. would never even step into it, and so I point a finger, and J. unexpectedly walks away following the finger and suggests that he push the stuck knee from below, which the mother, who is still cowering above her kid, rejects as dangerous for the bone structure. The kid, stuck in a rigid athlete's start position, whines mildly and her thick glasses get extremely fogged. And J. comes back saying the fire brigade is on their way. And everybody stand and stare at the cautionary show. And J. tries to divert the attention of L. because "das Mädchen möchte bestimmt nicht, dass jetzt alle schauen", which is right in a way, but I think the kid does not really care at this point, and she whines less mildly and the tension builds, and then we hear sirens, and an ambulance misses the park exit and ends up in a wrong lane behind a high fence. And the kid starts wailing and the ambulance just leaves, but the fire brigade appears, and six brave firemen in full gear jump out of the car and approach the wailing kid from below as the other children and their parents cheer and peer.

They study the situation while the stuck girl works herself up into a screaming fit, then retire into their vehicle and emerge with a humongous wire cutter which they carry proudly through the cheering crowd lifted to the level of the pending knee (clad in an appropriate colour of a prolapse). Though the miserably immotile child is now quite far from serenity and apparently fully blinded by tears and fog, she manages to spot the wire cutter and the approaching line of uniforms, and discovers the next level of distress. Meanwhile, other children grow optimistic and generously contribute to the blare. J. renews his attempts to mar the experience for L.

Two men hop off the ambulance as it finally emerges from the lane leading up to the playground and run like crazy and jump over fences and into the playground and climb the contraptions like zealous rookies, and when at last they crab up to the victim, the fire brigade has secured the offending piece of wire, and the dislodged kid rolls out of the tube like a hedgehog to be carefully examined by the skilled paramedics that they are. In a minute the crowd is busy calling dibs on the deserted swingset and the merry-go-round and whatnot, the unfortunate child is fine, and the paramedics are visibly disturbed by their uselessness. Suddenly a dishevelled citizen appears strolling very quickly through the park and into the playground. His clothes are in disarray and his eyes are fixed upon the sobbing wretch, who is not quite sitting on the platform flexing the recently examined knee. The character transcends several playground hurdles as if they were even steps, grabs his child heroically and marches away disregarding all that surrounds him including his wife who scurries away in the slipstream of his coat flaps.

The drama seems to dissolve, when a new commotion arises among the fire brigade who are busy arranging barricade tape in the now broken wire tube and plugging in the abrasive saw to smooth the edges of the grid gap. An uneasy murmur concerning the danger of sawing noise for the ear membrane makes its rounds amidst the children, and they engage in testing various foreign objects, fingers and sand as to the efficaciousness of plugging the ears therewith.

The fire brigade however exhibits wondrous ineptitude in providing the electricity needed to operate the saw, so that after a while children lose interest and stop worrying about stuff in their ears. Not so the paramedics, who get reagitated and, joined by a colleague formerly stuck behind the wheel, flock around the firemen and resort to commenting upon their diversified actions with ostentatious glee. The firemen, stonefaced as ever, walk in a file around the playground with a spool of electric cable, then congregate and pull out some kind of steampunk engine out of the guts of their vehicle. The one sitting on a ladder below the damaged tube starts yawning and covering his mouth with the mute abrasive saw. The rest fidget with the engine until something explodes in it quite cartoonishly, spraying sparks and smouldering, so that two firemen startle and bolt, paramedics jump into the ambulance giggling intensely and drive away immediately, a kid falls off a swing, the fickle saw operator suppresses a yawn, dogs bark in a distance, I pack my daughter into a stroller and walk away from the scene.
Tags: wrench and broom

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