Few and Far Between

by pjmcbride

…Am I alone here? No, I am not on medication. Yet.

IN PRAISE OF AUTO-CORRECT

Now that I have entered the Wonderful World of Texting, I must put in a word for the much-maligned auto-correct. {Bizarrely, spell-check just informed me that “texting” is not a word. I think my desktop is jealous of my smartphone.} It seems to me that the problems everyone has with auto-correct are actually their own fault, for hitting the wrong word, and then failing to read over their texts like I do. (You mean you’re supposed to just fire off texts spontaneously? What?) But how can you not admire a program that not only figures out what words are commonly used with each other, but is figuring out which words frequently use? (“Ride-along” is one of them. Hmm.)

DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

I dreamed I was test-driving a black Mustang. They make great birthday gifts, you know. And you only have 1 month + 1 week to shop.

CRISIS IN PROGRESS, A/K/A OTHER PEOPLE’S ADVENTURES

IF ONLY I COULD THROW THE PHONE ACROSS THE ROOM…

Caller: “A pickup truck pulled up in front of my house, and now they’re acting like idiots.”

Me: “What are they doing, exactly?”

Him: “I don’t know what they’re doing. But if you don’t get a cop out here, I’m going to become involved.”

Me: What do you mean by that?

Him: I’m just going to…{ominous pause} become involved.

Me: But what are they doing?

Him: I don’t know what they’re doing! You just need to get a cop out here quick!

Me: But are they threatening anyone, or fighting, or…”

Him: You know what? I’m done. {click}

And so was I.

THEY’RE STILL TRYING TO TRAIN ME

I was reading the latest installment of the omnipresent training material, which was (once again) threatening us with texting to 911, coming to a PSAP near you! (PSAP means Public Safety Answering Point, and may I just mention that I hate cutesy acronyms, and if anyone hears me use PSAP in a conversation, or refer to myself as a “telecommunicator,” or even worse, a “TC,” they should slap me. {Spell-check says PSAP isn’t a word. Good.}) As always, they were claiming that people are demanding the ability to contact 911 via text, and social media, and as always, I’m wondering, Who is demanding this, exactly? Who is saying, “Talking into a phone is too much trouble. I need to be able to get hold of 911 on Facebook and Twitter” ? It’s as if They think that if we don’t give people this capability, they won’t make use of our services. We should take the money we (or whoever) spend on billboards saying “SEE A RECKLESS DRIVER? CALL 911” and spend it on billboards saying “TALKING IS STILL FASTER THAN TYPING.”

By the way, the above attitude is one of the many reasons why I’m un-promotable. I’m not pro-active and visionary and stuff.

CONTRARY TO WHAT YOU MIGHT THINK, I AM NOT A MACHINE

Speaking of scary future stuff, here’s something even scarier. Now they have computer programs that tell you what questions to ask people who call for police assistance. And, like such programs tend to do, it’s not treated as a set of guidelines, but as a set of cut-and-dried, mandatory steps, invoked in the name of Standardization! and Consistency! I can see this working for ambulance services, where it’s already widely used (although it tends to irritate callers, who don’t understand why they’re being asked the same questions twice). But police runs are more complicated, with variables and, dare I say, the use of intuition, and a lot of thinking as you go, which is probably what they’re trying to eliminate with the use of these programs. But I don’t think the unpredictability factor can be eliminated–I’ve been doing this a very long time, and I still run into things I’ve never encountered before. But the great god Liability gets invoked–if you just asked the questions the computer told you to, you’re off the hook! And don’t you dare ask any others. ROBOT DISPATCHERS, COMING TO A PSAP NEAR YOU!

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