Are they political? No, they’re going to help you.

So, let’s start with I’m tired. I worked 14.5 hours then “doubled back” to my next shift a mere 9 hours later. Not whining; I actually do this frequently. Just ‘splaining. Nine hours between shifts gives me just about enough time to go home, sleep, shower, hug the family (if they’re even around), grab food, and return.

For ten of those 14.5 hours “yesterday” (which was really yesterday bleeding over into earlier today), I worked phones. That means I had to deal with the stupid people citizens, which stresses me out more than working radio (dealing with our officers). I know our callers are sometimes calling on the worst day of their life. I get that. Really, I do. I’ve had to call 9-1-1 myself a few times. It’s not a lot of fun, even for an expert. And, I give good phone. I can be compassionate and empathetic when necessary. I can be professional and cordial while I’m being screamed and cussed at. I don’t mind the callers who are truly in need of our assistance. But sometimes the conversation is just so pointless and fruitless… here’s a recent sample:

A neighboring agency was working on locating a suspect in an attempt robbery that had just occurred at a local corner grocery store. They called us with a description of the suspect and we had officers in the area looking. A clerk at a nearby gas station somehow got wind of the situation, and called us to report a suspicious subject in the parking lot that he thought matched the description of the suspect. In essence the conversation went something like this:

Calltaker (not me this time): 9-1-1, state your emergency.

Excited Caller with Difficult to Understand Accent (ECDUA): Uh, yes, I am here on (street name)… I am just speaking with (friend’s name at the neighboring corner grocery store)… I think I look a guy at gas pumps from the other store

Calltaker: Okay, and he’s at your store?

ECDUA: No, no, yeah, on (street name)… (conversation confirming location)

Calltaker: Okay, and he’s matching the description?

ECDUA:  Uh huh

Calltaker: Okay, hold on… (conversation about how this caller knows it’s the same suspect)… Are you sure it’s him or it just looks like him?

ECDUA: Yes, I am looking for here and this guy just coming…

Calltaker: Okay, what’s he doing right now…

ECDUA: I’m here looking, uh, at the gas pumps…

Calltaker: He’s at the gas pumps?

ECDUA: Yes.

Calltaker: So, does he have a car with him, is he getting gas?

ECDUA: Yeah, he uh duh watching…

Calltaker: Okay, what kind of car?

ECDUA: Uh, no car… Honda Pilot… he’s just watching…

So, wait, is there or isn’t there a car? You tell me. The conversation continued in that vein until the officers arrived to find… the suspect was gone. Even though the caller said all the way to the end of the call that he was looking right at him. And, no, it was not the same suspect, just one of our town’s regular dirt-bag types. It’s this kind of conversation that drives me bonkers (and again I didn’t have to deal with that one myself).

Stress, in addition to turning me into a sweet-sucking-machine (I’m talking a dozen homemade cookies baked and eaten in less than 30 minutes), bleeds over into my dreams. I’m telling you, if I could remember my dreams with any clarity, I’d be the next Stephen King. Someday I’ll tell you more about my recurring nightmares, but that’s a blog for another day.

So, this afternoon I fall asleep and have the following dream:

Calltaker (me this time): 9-1-1, where is your emergency?

Female Caller: 11350 Holly Avenue

Me: What’s going on there?

Caller: My (husband/boyfriend/father of my children) hit me and took off.

We have a conversation about her injuries, what he looks like, where he may be going, any weapons, etc., then suddenly the caller is asking me questions:

Caller: So, who’s coming?

Me: I’m sending you patrol and fire (the ambulance is dispatched from another agency).

Caller: Are they cute?

Me: Uh, I don’t know, that’s not appropriate for me to answer.

Caller: But are they political?

Me: No, they’re going to help you.

At which point I woke up, thought it had been an actual call that I had taken (that’s how real it felt), and discovered that I had been asleep for a total of… about two hours. I spent the rest of my sleep time slipping in and out of REM sleep and thinking about writing this blog in one hour cycles. I finally just gave up sleeping and got up about two hours earlier than I had planned to. So, yeah, I’m tired.

Somewhere in that dream is a joke about politicians being helpful, but I’m not up to the task of creating it. I leave it up to you. Please feel free to share.