Friday, March 25, 2011

civic duty.

Yesterday evening I called 911 for the first time not as a prank call.

Milestone, anyone?

Manfriend and I had just finished a sodium-riddled meal at Panda Express and I was flying solo over to my parents' house. My parents are leaving for OMGZ SPRING BREAK 2k11!! this morning, which means they're going to hang out with all the other people they see in our hometown on the daily, just in the sunny climate of southern Florida. Part of me is actually surpirsed every year when I don't hear on the news that Florida has begun to sink into the gulf/ocean from the shear number of Midwestern spring-breakers that migrate there like bats out of hell for a week.

So since Mama and Papa D are going to be gone for a week, I am on dog duty this weekend. They could have taken little Brutus with them had they driven, but I had a pleasure of actually doing the drive once, and I can say with confidence that it will not be driven by a member of this family ever again. We're plane people, family vacations should be and are arranged utilizing flight.

Despite the fact that I have my own home to throw ragers soirees in at my own discretion, my pulse quickens at the thought of my parents leaving me home alone,  finding someone to buy us alcohol and getting sloppily intoxicated, then inviting a bunch of boys over and blowing the speaker system and having a bonfire in the backyard.... and then I remember I'm almost 25 years old and I can buy my own alcohol and drink it virtually wherever I please and I can have friends over to my own house and I have Manfriend, so I need to just cut it the fuck out. However, none of that truth really negates the fact that Mama and Papa D's house was made to party in. It's more of a party house than a let's-give-four-children-a-proper-raisin' house. I mean, I'm obviously not in a position to judge, but I think the house secretly really enjoys when I ultilize all of its entertainment related wiles.

 Anyway, I'm rolling over to my parents house so I can get instructions on how to care for the pup, and I'm kind of zoning out because I'm listening to Arcade Fire and also sort of embarrassingly screaming the lyrics and I look over to my left and by god, there is smoke billowing out of every window of a house that I'm passing. And then I think maybe I'm hallucinating, so I slowwwww down and turn off the music for a sec to make sure it's really happening, which it definitely is, and I then decide it would be best if I call for back-up and continue on my merry way.

I immediately call my father since I'm all sorts of nervous about calliing 911, because who does that? Who fucking calls 911 anymore? I'm never the first one to know about anything, I never have any reason to use the emergency network. Anyway, I call my dad because I'm a pathetic child and he confirms that based on the amount of smoke, fact that 'everyone has already left for spring break*," and the notable lack of any sort of crowd of gapers, I should indeed dial the fateful numbers. 

*Just to be clear, when my father stated that everyone had already left for spring break, he actually did mean the whole town, not just everyone we know. It's that kind of place. I'm so thrilled to be back here after six years away!!!! Another part of my soul just died.

 So I proceed to dial 911 and reach the operator while I'm driving away.

I'm quickly informed by a woman who is probably used to telling hysterical people to calm down that I've reached the wrong county. What that fuck? 911 doesn't have an area code.  So anyway, I'm actually not freaking out, which is pretty uncharacteristic of me, so I ask her to send me to the correct county and I get:

"Ma'am? Ma'am!??! Calm down. You just need to wait a second and I'm going to send you over there. Ma'am?"

First of all, bitch, don't call me ma'am. Second, you're the one who needs to calm down, you should be fucking thanking me for fulfilling my civic duty and actually being as cool as a cucumber about it, because trust me, you could be getting panicky Sara right now, and that's a lot more goddamndifficult to deal with.

Anyway, I call and report the potential fire and the new operator is a man that actually doesn't sound lazy and annoying, so I get a sense of, what should I call it? Pride. I get a sense of pride out of the encounter.

Soon after I hang up with the operator I reach my parents' street and guess who's waiting to turn from the direction I just came? My own father. What a busybody! So I roll down my window and I'm all "I just called and reported it, the operator guy said they're going to send someone out to check on it."

Of course, my father, the man who has never met a stranger, who is president of the high school booster club and whose son (my own brother) was captain of the high school football team this year, feels the duty, as one of the pillars of the community to 'go check things out.' Whatever.

I end up hopping into his car and we drive over to the scene of the smoke.

And you know what? It was fucking gone. There was no more smoke. Every damn window and door of the house was open to air everything out though, so I guess everyone really hasn't left for SB2K11! yet. My clever father jeered at me, "Looks like someone was just burning dinner. he he he."

Bullshit, the amount of smoke being expelled from the house was WAY more than a burning dinner, the place looked like it was cooking from the inside out. And that is coming from someone who has burned more than her fair amount of dinner. This girl does not call 911 for nothing. Buttttt... I kind of did feel like an asshat and encouraged my father to drive away quickly in case the emergency squads were on their way and going to be pissed about being called for a false alarm. I'm totally never dialling 911 again, there's always someone else around to call anyway.

So, I guess psyching myself up to call the authorities for a real (fake) emergency isn't really legitimate civic duty, but I think it does show that I'm a compassionate and caring human being, despite my general misanthropic tendencies.

I think my father was disappointed by the lack of drama. I'll take it as a good sign that I was actually relieved.

OMGZ party at my parents' this weekend!!!

Xo Sare


  1. oh god, does this happen to everybody? i feel like when i "do the right thing" in these situations it comes back to bite me- not making me want to ever do anything nice again. but then i would feel guilty about it. so i do the right thing. and then the cycle continues. sighhh.

    glad no one's house burned down though. and whats with 911 being such assholes all the time? 9/10 stories i hear they are total dicks. i'm guessing that's partially the idiots that call saying they didn't get their chicken nuggets or something but come on. i know it's like anything out there where you only hear about the awful 911 operators and not the good ones, but the awful ones stories are more numerous than the good ones stories.

    i wrote a novel. i'll stop rambling.

  2. If my house was sort of on fire, looked like it was on fire, or maybe even if I was making a really shitty meal (it happens), I'd totally like somebody to call 911. So kudos to you! (Just don't get all pissed when firemen show up at your door the next time your microwave popcorn goes bad!)