Thursday, October 29, 2009

Observing the World Around Me

As I was driving to pick up my children from school, it suddenly occurred to me that I don't pay enough attention to the world around me. I typically keep my eyes glued on the road while I'm driving - I really should look up and notice other important things like traffic lights, pedestrians, etc. But that kind of alertness only comes with about 11 cups of coffee.

What got me thinking was a chopper flying overhead. I don't know why, but we regularly have military choppers buzz our house, even though there isn't a military base anywhere nearby. I usually ignore them, but once in a while, I give in to the very realistic fear that World War III has actually started here in the strategic location of Lansing, Michigan. (Don't laugh - Lansing happens to be very important city. Just drive through it and you will see the Capitol building. Well, I guess that's about all there is, but I'm fairly certain we're due for a terrorist strike sometime soon because no one would ever suspect it would happen here. They've got the element of surprise on their side.)

Back to my story. I happened to notice this particular helicopter was traveling the same route as I was, due East on Michigan Avenue. Then it dawned on me that it was a medical helicopter, headed for Sparrow Hospital, which is the other big thing to see in Lansing. I believe it is bigger than the capitol building and I also believe it houses hundreds more competent employees than the capitol building. This is true, even of the valets at the Sparrow Professional Building, across the street, who are very Johnny-on-the-spot. Especially when you don't want to pay for Sparrow's parking garage, so you have the valets across the street park your car and you just take the skywalk over to the hospital. (Just kidding, I don't do that. . . .but, hey it's a good idea, right?)

I have always been curious about where the landing pad at Sparrow is, so I tried to slow down enough to see where the helicopter went down. Alas, traffic was too fast, and I didn't want to risk becoming the next Sparrow Hospital client, so I missed the final descent. It was kind of cool for about 30 seconds until it dawned on me that there was probably a very critical patient in that helicopter. Still cool because it may have saved someone's life.

Wow, so I spent a lot of time on that one thing that I noticed. I can't really remember the rest since I just used all my alert brain cells retrieving the previous information.

This just in: yes, Sparrow Hospital is indeed far bigger than the State Capitol building -exactly 10 times larger, in fact. Sparrow Hospital is 1.2 million square feet, whereas the Capitol building is 120,000 square feet. I just included those little factoids in case any of you locals want an opportunity to dazzle someone with that piece of trivia. And also, I didn't want you to think I was a total moron, because it's obvious to anyone who has seen both that Sparrow Hospital is indeed much larger than the Capitol building.

Oh, my. I think I have too much time on my hands.


  1. I never pay attention to things around me when I drive. My husband always says an elephant can go down the freeway and I would never notice!

  2. Shhhhh, never admit you have too much time on your hands or people will keep them busy :)

  3. You are too funny - I think they land on top somewhere...where those funny purple lights are at night.

    What I always notice at Sparrow is their URGENT need for some sort of garden space or courtyard!!!! I've never seen anything like the half-dressed, half-alive people, in hospital gowns , hooked to their IV, usually smoking....standing right out on the four-lane public street for all to see. Women in nightgowns with no with the backs of their gowns flapping open.... some poor souls even sitting on the curb because they are too weak to stand... It is surreal.

  4. Oh, my gosh, Annie - that is a good point! I drive past there every day and I think the same thing - nothing like getting out for a little fresh air and car exhaust while you're supposed to be recovering!


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