Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Category: Retiring in Public

The Title I Almost Forgot

ADVENTURES WITH ALCOHOL

First you forget that you need to do the laundry. Then you think, I’ll get to it when I finish this can. Then you think, How important is laundry in the scheme of life, anyway? Even though WEDNESDAY IS LAUNDRY DAY, for no other reason than to commemorate that my final day of work was Wednesday. Or my first day of retirement. Or something.

Speaking of which, Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale, which I just finished my Labor Day carton of, has a commercial in which drinking it makes your friends develop animal heads, like the Taheen in the Dark Tower. If anything like that happens for me, I’ll let you know.

GOOD THING I JUST REMEMBERED THAT I GOT CHOCOLATE ON ONE OF MY ROSE-PRINT SWEATERS AND NEED TO PRE-TREAT IT, OF SUCH TRIUMPHS A SUCCESSFUL LIFE IS MADE

OBSERVATIONS ON SORTING LAUNDRY

I sure own a lot of pants.

FURTHER OBSERVATIONS ON MCDONALD’S

…because alcohol affects memory, who knew?

Dress code: Casual. I was overdressed, since my t-shirt didn’t have writing on it.

Announcement on sign: PUMPKIN SPICE IS BACK–without the customary exclamation point. They’re jaded about it by now. But they will not have the pumpkin pies they had a few years ago–the manager checked the Marketing Book for me. I wish I could see that Marketing Book, and report back to you on its contents.

STUFF THAT WILL BE FEATURED ON S.G. IN THE FUTURE

I will be re-visiting old posts, partly to satisfy my own curiosity. Sure, it’s cannibalizing my own material, but, as the old joke says, it’s my cow. (Everyone rushes to look up that punch line on Google. Or it might have been a sheep. Or something.) 

 

Advertisements

Thanks & Apologies

Thank you to the person who told me the first thing they do every morning is check to see if I’ve posted! Although maybe an apology would be more appropriate.

RANDOM STUFF I FORGOT LAST TIME BECAUSE ROM CAME IN AND GAVE ME FOOD IN MY SPECIAL BLUE BOWL

BEST NAME FOR A ROCK BAND EVER–(courtesy of a candy I saw at CVS): Sour Neon Crawlers. Let’s get that band started! I could write lyrics, I don’t sing any worse than some singer-songwriters, and Rom said I have the personality of an egotistical lead singer, so let’s go!

BONUS: BEST NAME FOR A COUNTRY BAND EVER (courtesy of a sports team I saw on the news while waiting impatiently for Colbert to be on): Normal Cornbelters.

Billboard at Lloyd/St Joe–“Want to know how this works? Call us.” Yes, it’s a billboard advertising itself. And no thanks, I think I understand how they work.

TALKIN’ ‘BOUT MY G-G-GENERATION

An editorial in the paper recently noted disapprovingly that states have over-extended their pension obligations, “even offering retiree health insurance.” How dare I have health insurance! I should just do without, as punishment for working for the government for 32 years. (Well, 32 years for this government. I worked for 2 others before that.)

I am now in my third  month of pretending I’m independently wealthy and have inherited a small fortune (but only a small one, as befits my lower-upper-class upbringing). Of course, it’s easy to live cheaply when you don’t have a life, as it’s commonly defined.

HEY, WAIT, I GOT A NEW COMPLAINT

–stolen from Kurt Cobain, if I understood him correctly.

When did parts of speech become randomized? I hate to bring it up, since it makes me sound pedantic. Not to mention un-creative, which is the worst thing you could call me. (“Wait! Wait! I need to add this to my notes!” Nick says, jumping up and spilling his pink lemonade.) Yeah, I know, language evolves and stuff. But still…

“Enjoy the go.” (Well, that’s wrong for so many reasons, #1 being the idea that using the toilet would actually be pleasant as long as you had the right toilet paper.) (Did you know there’s a commercial out there that SHOWS A DIAGRAM OF TURDS MOVING THROUGH YOUR INTESTINE??! It’s a sign of the end. So to speak.)

“Each child schools differently.”

“Discover your awesome.”

“This is how you Sonic.”

“the big reveal” We already have a word for that–revelation.

I saw a woman on the bus with a t-shirt that said: “American Pride: ‘America’, adj., in or of America. ‘Pride’, noun, a highly opinion of oneself.” Bigly, I say.

Speaking of which, a clerk at Thornton’s complimented me on my tattoo and said, “Is that a cobra? You’re the last person I’d think would have that.” Time for the Blue Oyster Cult t-shirt, obviously.

OTHER PROBLEMS THAT I HAVE

I read that the autistic brain lacks the ability to automatically prioritize sensory input. I never thought of it that way before, but it makes so much sense. Everything comes at me at once, so no wonder I like to stick to the familiar. It’s mildly disorienting just to go to a McDonald’s location I haven’t been to before, and actual Travel is just overwhelming. (I remember a co-worker asked, “What will you do when you retire? Travel?” and I said, “NO!” with a loudness and vehemence she might have found odd.) Rom has an expression, “It’s like you get on moving day,” to express this state. You know how they say that someone “sees what has to be done and does it?” I have trouble seeing what has to be done. Just issue instructions, please. And hope I’ll follow them. (You can see why Rom has that expression.) The everything-at-once theory also explains why I get a lot of both “I can’t believe you noticed that!” and “I can’t believe you didn’t notice that.”

LET’S OBSERVE A MOMENT OF SILENCE 

…for the small spider that fell into my candle. I blew the candle out as a sign of respect, and it is  now entombed in rose-and-magnolia-scented wax.

THEATER OF CRUELTY UPDATE

We haven’t heard about a certain beast for awhile, have we? I heard that he’s gone rogue now that I’m no longer his handler, and was spotted in Orlando attacking Disney characters (now that there’s an app that helps you locate them). But he is no longer my concern, I suppose.

 

 

New-Product News!

RAMPANT MATERIALISM ON NORTH ST JOE

…or “North Street Joe,” as someone from an alarm service once called it. Which is why alarm services should stay local. Repeat after me, “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.”

–Guys! Are you tired of moist towelettes that have scents like “Spring Blossom”? Then you’ll be wanting new “Dude Wipes”! I did not make that up. They also come in “Shower Wipe” size. Nick, are you paying attention? And right next to the Dude Wipes, you will find “Nads Nose Wax,” which “inserts easily into the nose.” Well, one hopes so.

BUTTER PECAN ICE CREAM, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? I’m glad I discovered this stuff before I die. Lic’s even has a BUTTERNUT SUNDAE with caramel sauce! They also have “Cinnamon Hottie”–cinnamon ice cream with red-hots–which is the ice cream they’d make me eat in hell. Nick, quit taking notes, please.

–E-mail from Lands’ End, where I get most of my clothes: “We have a print polo shirt for every day of the week!” I briefly entertained the idea of having a polo shirt “uniform” to cut down on stressful clothing decisions, but then I’d have to decide which print went with which day of the week, which would only add stress.

–Headline in paper: “Theme parks adding features for autistic people.” Leaving aside the question of why autistic people would want to go to a theme park (obsession with a particular theme-park character, thanks for asking), they offer “quiet rooms” with weighted blankets. The whole weighted-blanket idea makes me feel a bit panicky, but it might actually work in practice. “You will relax!” They also pinpointed the noise from automatic toilets and hand dryers in restrooms. I can tolerate those, but I do hate them. Aside from the sudden-loud-noises aspect, why can’t we all be trusted to decide on our own water temperature and drying time? (Well, I apparently can’t be trusted to decide on a polo shirt, see above.) Anyway, these idyllic theme park restrooms feature all-manual controls and are “painted calming blue.” Would that all were like them. Hell, paint everything calming blue.

Speaking of dudes (we were, several paragraphs ago, just scroll up), in my retirement, I’ve been making much use of the pedestrian walkway over Lloyd Expressway. Recently, they painted over the gang graffiti (“Taylor Made,” get your juvenile-delinquent ass back to Taylor Avenue, and “Cream Team,” I don’t want to know where you’re from), except for “Kilroy Was Here” and “Dude.” Because who could object to Kilroy and Dude? So the structure will now be called the Kilroy-Dude Memorial Overpass. Kilroy comes first because he’s been around longest. Duude!

 

True Confessions + Some Actual Content

I’m going to tell you a secret. Actually, three secrets, but the other two will have to wait. Only then can we move on as a nation.

I’ve been trying to figure out if this blog is still viable now that I’m retired and no longer able to provide content that you couldn’t get anywhere else. Or that you weren’t getting anywhere else, more precisely. Which brings us to the secret, of sorts.

I never thought this blog would make me famous, since I’m not insane. However, I did think it might attract a wider readership of fellow 911 dispatchers. Toward that end, someone more publicity-minded than I am (well, that could be anyone, couldn’t it?) linked to this blog on a dispatch Facebook page so that others could view it. I received my highest readership that day, some 360 people. That was a big surprise to wake up to. The bigger surprise was that all those extra readers never came back. They checked it out once and decided it wasn’t for them.

I’ll discuss why that might be so in the next post, but in the meantime, if you noticed a point at which S.G. lost momentum, and I could no longer be counted on to post regularly, that would be why. Nick, if you call me a “poor thing” again, I will…well, I don’t know what I’ll do. You’ll have to check back with me later.

I remember when I couldn’t wait to get home and post all kinds of exciting stuff about my less-than-exciting life. I still get ideas, but I tend to lie down and wait until the urge passes. BUT NOW…

LYRICAL CRITICISM–BAD RELATIONSHIP IDEAS FROM POPULAR SONGS

–“Why you gotta be so cruel? I’m gonna marry you anyway.” Always a good idea.

–“Marry you no matter what you say.” I believe that’s illegal.

SEEN ON THE COVER OF COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE

“Sun’s out, buns out!” That’s illegal, too.

ADVENTURES IN THE RESTROOMS OF LIFE

I don’t read my daily horoscope, but mine must have said “Taureans will have trouble accessing public restrooms.”

At CVS, they’d put up the “No Public Restrooms” sign in front of, well, their public restrooms, as they do at unpredictable intervals. (Whenever they see me coming, for all I know.) It actually says, “No Public Restrooms–Please Don’t Ask,” which infringes on my freedom of speech.

At Walgreen’s–well, if you smell an almighty stench as soon as you turn into the hall leading to the restroom, you know not to go in there.

At Thornton’s, the women’s room had a sign saying “Closed for Cleaning.” Feeling a bit desperate by now, I slipped into the (empty) men’s room. When I came out, I saw a mother and daughter waiting for the Cleaning to come to an end. The little girl said, “Mommy, that lady came out of the men’s room!” I went and got my fountain drink (thus beginning the cycle all over again), glanced back, and saw mother and daughter emerging from the men’s room, looking a good deal more relaxed.

I PERFORM A HEROIC DEED IN THE RESTROOM

On another occasion at Walgreen’s (see, this is what happens when I post regularly, so be careful what you pray for) (if anyone was in fact praying for this), whoever keeps mischievously locking one of the stall doors from the inside (I’m guessing a poltergeist) had again done so. I thought, What this situation requires is someone able and willing to slither under the door and unlock it. So I did. It meant that my clothes acquired bathroom cooties, which makes them ritually impure until they’re laundered, but two-stall functionality has been restored. I expect a plaque on the stall door for my efforts.

I AM LESS HEROIC AT HOME

…having dropped a brand-new shoe in the toilet. So that shoe now has toilet cooties (even though the toilet was clean), which will not be removed until I get caught out in the rain wearing those shoes.

OK, I’m tired of this topic. Time to resume arguing with A Certain Person about whether Nick is adorable or not.

 

Crisis Averted

You must excuse any typos because I’m pretty drunk right now. Nick, you may avert your gaze.

THE LEGENDARY RETIREMENT PARTY

Disclaimer: Drunk enough to make many typos, sober enough to correct them.

Who would have thought I’d ever be popular enough to reserve a whole room at Hacienda? (Notice: Let’s see how well I do at Chuck E. Cheese on Sunday.) The most decadent thing I did was get chip crumbs in my hair–hardly a match for Easter Vigil at St Boniface, where I got hot wax on my hand and holy water in my eye–and I got tipsy enough to think sending Nick a picture of me with a drink in my hand was a good idea (though it wasn’t that bad an idea {disclaimer–I meant to do italics for “bad” rather than boldface, but I’m drunk, so suck it}, since I wasn’t driving).

There was no question of any sort of singing, since we were SO LOUD anyway. {Non-disclaimer: I have resumed this post several hours later and am now sober, which makes it much easier.} I was very pleased to see several former colleagues who had gone on to greener pastures (I guess the sewer department might produce greener pastures, for one). It is worthy of note that, in spite of this being a Mexican restaurant, A Certain Person had a burger covered with loathsome vegetables and a huge pile of fries. I had two of their wonderful strawberry daiquiris, the  most painless way to get alcohol into your body there is, but, combined with the large quantity of food I consumed, they just made me sleepy. I went home and dozed off mid-rosary on the couch, which sounds like some kind of retirement cliche.

Nick’s owner assured me he was sorry for his absence and would make it up to me somehow, both of which he loftily denied.

Now it’s time to shower, and I need to remove nail polish first, so I must go.

A Timely Reminder

…My RETIREMENT PARTY occurs tomorrow! Yes, I’ve been retired for 2 weeks already, but I won’t feel completely-retired until then. Now I’m just “newly retired.” It’s like how long it takes after your wedding before you’re no longer “newlyweds.” And there will be a Social Page post after the party, if I survive it and remember anything.

One thing we need not fear is a visit from Nick, who had a prior commitment to perform in the rain at Disney World. “Too bad,” said Rom, “he could have done the stripper-cop thing.” “Hmm,” said Nick when I told him this, “I’d actually thought of that when I left my hotel room today.” It’s a bit pitiful to think of him fantasizing about performing at a party he can’t go to, but he doesn’t see as much of me as he’d like.

OK, since paranoia springs eternal, I am now imagining my (former) colleagues thinking, “PARTY? Oh no, we forgot!” or, conversely, all showing up at the restaurant without me.

Oh, and there is no karaoke facility at this venue, so “House of the Rising Sun” will have to go forever unsung. I’m not about to perform it without accompaniment. Perhaps A Certain Person will treat us to her a capella rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” instead.

NON-PARTY-RELATED NEWS

Piece of junk mail received–“Enclosed: Your Death Benefit and Walmart Savings Certificate.” Yes, one benefit of death is that there will be no Walmart. And who thought those things would go together? Is Walmart now providing funeral services?

LIKE SANDS IN THE HOURGLASS, SO ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES…

I have a 33 oz. bottle of shampoo that I opened round about Inauguration Day. It occurred to me that Trump might be gone before I finish this bottle. I will keep you posted on its progress. I wash my hair every day, but it’s Suave Daily Clarifying, and only a small amount is required, so it’s anybody’s guess. Perhaps I should take bets. I will illustrate the process on Facebook, if I ever get my phone photo-link to Facebook fixed. It’s not worth waiting a long time on hold for. Unlike Nick, who waited OVER TWO HOURS to get on a ride at Disney World. No ride is worth two hours of my time. Of course, Disney World isn’t worth my time, either. Enormous crowds! Things with big heads! Hotels with “themes”! Sounds like Walmart, except Walmart is easier to get out of.

ALIEN FINGER IS TIRED OF ALL THIS TYPING, SO I BID YOU FAREWELL.

 

Now It Can Be Told

This page took so long to load, it was as if the computer was asking, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Well, I’m not sure I should be doing it. S.G. has just lost its original reason for being, after all, and may turn out to be flimsy and pitiful without work stories, but I’m pitiful without something to write, so here you are, like it or not.

FROM THE RIDICULOUS…

I own a light blue ball cap with rhinestones on it. I wore it to church today–it was only the second time I’ve worn it. I looked at myself in the mirror, and thought the fit was a bit odd, but Rom has owned ball caps that had some type of stiffener in the front panel and fit in a similar manner, so I didn’t think anything of it. When I got home and took the hat off, I realized I had never taken the cardboard insert out of it that had kept it from looking droopy on the hook at Walgreen’s. By the way, the first time I wore this hat was to a party at Nick’s place. Obviously he didn’t notice anything amiss, or he’d have laughed until he cried (if that is indeed possible).

TO THE SERIOUS

My exit-interview form (they didn’t give me an actual interview, just a form) said, “What was the best thing about working for the City?” and I wrote “Never a dull moment!” Then I thought, No, I’m supposed to say, “Helping people”! But “never a dull moment” is what first came to mind, and so it shall remain.

…BACK TO THE RIDICULOUS

Namely, my coloring-book progress. I have dealt with creepy moths and dragonflies, and explored the differences between yellow-green and green-yellow. The author’s introduction said, “You may find some of these patterns too intricate to color each small space. Feel free to color the whole larger area and just let the pattern show through.” That is such a load off my mind. It tells you something that with many of the pictures, I preferred to write captions or dialogue for them, rather than color them.

PARTY AT TREXA’S PLACE!

…which is the new name for D., since Rom says she has arms like a T. Rex. I didn’t notice that myself, but it has entertainment value.

WHAT DID I FIND OUT?

–That s’mores (had by me for the first time!) (Nick: “I can’t believe you never had them.” WELL, I DON’T GO CAMPING, SO WHERE WOULD I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY THEM?) are better without the chocolate. Also that I have a talent for toasting marshmallows, which, like my talent for miniature golf, is due to a watchful patience that I have yet to display in any other areas of life. Perhaps I can take up a second career as a sniper. DID YOU KNOW? They make square marshmallows now for this purpose! For s’mores, I mean, not sniping.

–That I do not, in fact, know enough to come in out of the rain, but neither did anyone else at this event. We just sat there eating in the rain. Roughing it.

 

 

Day 1: Over and Out

I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was too excited, then I couldn’t get back to sleep this morning because I was too nostalgic, so here I am. After dreaming that I took the wrong bus and ended up not knowing where I was, so I became a sort of feral person, going into people’s unlocked houses and stealing their food. This is my Plan B if retirement doesn’t work out.

The best I could do for a disreputable outfit turned out to be pants with a hole in them (but I wore matching underwear so you can’t tell where it is), an old bra I’ve been meaning to throw out ever since it turned dingy gray from being washed with jeans (I thought one time couldn’t hurt), a t-shirt that says “My Work Number Is 911,” because it never will be again, a cross Rom got me that I finally got the chain untangled to, a ring Rom got me that I normally wouldn’t wear to work because it’s too big to type with comfortably, and sandals which really make me hope I get a ride home because I can’t imagine walking a mile and a half wearing these. But in another way it’s a good thing, because I have a sore toe from cutting the nail too short. I also have another ugly toenail, because the damage done in the Alien Finger incident hasn’t completely grown out, plus I dropped a jar candle on it. (A Certain Person thanks me for this pedicure update.) So far, I have not been cold enough to put Security Blanket on my feet.

DIGRESSION

I hate the Indiana Department of Revenue. Either they screw up, or I screw up, every year, but you’ll never guess who ends up paying either way. Yes, that would be the person who just can’t figure out whether Rom’s Social Security is taxable. I’m dreading the taxes for this year. I may have to seek outside help.

UN-DIGRESSION

I came in here to find an amazing cake with red and black roses and the picture of me from last Halloween (appropriate, since I started work on Halloween), in skull t-shirt, Currant Red lipstick (artfully blotted–my mother would approve), and a headband of red and black roses that I snagged from Walgreen’s. If they’d told me when I was a kid that someday they’d be able to decorate cakes with photographs….the future is here! Also, the cake says, “QUITTER–1984-2017” on it. As I noted last time, I do kind of feel like a quitter, even though I may have had a longer sentence, I mean tenure, than anyone here. Speaking of which, my exit interview form asked why I was leaving, I think the dates 10/31/84–5/31/17 probably speak for themselves.

I also came in to find a dozen red roses, with a card with no name and the sentiment “Now you have to carry these home! Leave and don’t come back!” Sound like anyone we know? It has the smell of Nick about it. Well, except that he doesn’t smell like roses. He smells like Right Guard Fresh Blast deodorant. And when I found out the Army only requires him to bathe once a week (seven times less often than the Dispatch SOP), I sent him a case of it for his birthday. That was 3 years ago, and he only used it up recently, which should tell you something.

AND…

…a pack of Strawber-Rita, which I had been wanting to try since seeing a commercial for it JUST LAST NIGHT. I’m tempted to surreptitiously try it right now, but it’s hard to open a can surreptitiously.

STAB FROM THE PAST–STUFF THAT WILL BE FORGOTTEN WHEN I’M GONE

“We understand you’re like the historian of this place!” Upper Management said to me many years ago, beaming and thrusting a notebook of photographs into my arms before I could step back out of reach. What I was was someone who kept a file of press clippings about all the problems we were having back when we first consolidated. And someone who abused the city’s new email system with a newsletter of said problems (the ancestor of what you’re reading now) to a select list of subscribers. Upper Management also came to me once and said, “Why don’t you send your newsletter out to everyone, so we can all read it?,” causing me to turn a whiter shade of pale. Um, because you’re usually what I’m writing about? It occurs to me now that they may have known that perfectly well, and said that in the spirit of “P.J.’s going to tell us all what’s so funny!”

So anyway (taking a deep breath of rose), here’s assorted stuff that will probably only be interesting to people who’ve worked here. And which I’ve probably addressed in previous posts. History repeats itself, or we’re doomed to repeat it, or something.

DOWNTOWN, 1986-1990 (I spent 1984-1986 in Records.)

Before we consolidated, a police sergeant was the supervisor, and there were 3 dispatchers on duty–one calltaker, one on dispatch, and one on info (or, as it was called then, Radio). One of those sergeants would let someone go home after 0300. (I spent a lot of time on 3rd shift in those days, because, as a colleague told me, “With that attitude, you belong on 3rd shift.”) Another sergeant wouldn’t let you go home, but would let one of us nap in the employee lounge for the last half of the shift. (Strangest dreams I’ve ever had.) And yet a third would take all the non-emergency lines off the hook (you do know what that means, don’t you?), so the phone wouldn’t disturb us while we ate dinner. Which was brought by an officer in those days.

In 1990, we consolidated (it was a fashionable idea back then, in the time-honored tradition of We Can, So We Should). Our new Upper Management decided we weren’t allowed to leave the building on breaks. (We actually got breaks back then–none of that “only leave the room long enough to heat food and bring it back to your console” ethos that now prevails.) I would defiantly go across the street and sit on a park bench for half an hour, staring stonily at the Civic Center. We were also told we weren’t allowed to get drunk on our own time, in case we were needed for overtime.

CRISIS IN PROGRESS–DIGRESSION

‘”My grandson is being taken care of by my son’s girlfriend’s grandmother, and…”

–“He was injured in a fight with his girlfriend’s other baby daddy.” You know, baby daddy wasn’t even a thing when I started. As for other baby daddy…

–“What makes it a terroristic threat, exactly?” When you find out, let me know. Because that term predates 9-11. In fact, it usually starts with, “I’m from Kentucky.”

DID YOU KNOW?

–They kept trying to get us in uniforms, but finally gave up when they realized they would have to pay for it.

–The assigned seating in here was not originally for greater efficiency, but because the people then in charge didn’t like the way people sat next to colleagues they liked and avoided others.

–We used to be able to trade positions, so if you didn’t want to be, say, info, you could trade with someone who didn’t want to be city dispatch.

–The wastebaskets next to the consoles have been here since the beginning. They are tiny because They thought that if we didn’t have big trash cans, we wouldn’t produce a lot of trash. You see how that worked out.

–I originally asked, “Who will clean the building when we leave the Civic Center and don’t have their cleaning people?” and was told, “Well, you’ll be expected to clean up after yourselves.”

–We originally had no snack machine out here because the people who were on duty when They asked didn’t want to be tempted off their diets. I was very annoyed when I came in and found this out. Currently, the only food that can be bought on-site is M&M’s. I have sometimes subsisted on them for a whole 8 hours. They must be eaten in this order: brown-yellow-green-orange-red-blue.

BUT THIS COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTION IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAPA JOHN’S PIZZA

And I took the piece with the fattest crust, because one doesn’t retire every day. OK, I did that before, too.

SLICES LATER…

Squirming out of these sandals. I’ve forgotten how annoying leather straps against my skin can be.

–Report from the Pet Food Center of a subject rapping at all the employees and foaming at the mouth. He then left with a woman pushing a stroller.

LYRICAL CRITICISM

Song overheard at Thornton’s–“Girl, give in to me completely, stop holding back our love.” Baby mama in 3..2..1…

BY SPECIAL REQUEST…

…and because I was fishing for compliments, I told Nikki the Tragically Hip that I had this story to tell. We were talking about when you mistakenly send your text to the person you were talking about at work.

Longtime readers, if any, may remember that I occasionally refer to someone called the Nemesis. This person started in Records after I did, transferred to Dispatch shortly before I did, and was then promoted to supervisor, which I resented, even though I had no desire to become a supervisor myself. (My feelings about promotion were, to quote Joan Jett, “I wanna see you begging then say ‘Forget it’ just for spite.” Yes, Nick, I know I also quoted those words to you, but that was in a different context. I don’t even want to think about an alternate universe where you were my supervisor.)

Because the Nemesis and I started on the department at about the same time, we were always sent to training, testing, etc., together, even though we detested each other. In fairness to her, since I don’t drive, whenever there was training up at the state police post, or the police academy near Indianapolis,  she was told to give me a ride. And room with me once we got there. It was like an episode from “The Office,” except that I’m not sure which of us was Dwight. I just know that one of us was.

During our days in Records, the Nemesis wore Forever Krystle perfume, a drugstore scent based on the “Dynasty” TV character. After she was promoted, she upgraded to department store scent and wore Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door. Now I don’t dislike perfume, quite the opposite, but Red Door is a potent scent, the sort you should just apply one spritz of and never reapply until the next day. And when I roomed with the Nemesis, I found out why we could smell her coming down the hall at work. She applied Red Door like it was spray tanner, from head to toe, for complete coverage.

I offer this background to give you some idea of the context. The Nemesis was a martinet and a micro-manager, and the atmosphere in Operations was tense and uncomfortable on any shift she supervised. We were deathly silent, except for the mad clicking of keys as we messaged each other around the room.

THIS LONGER PAUSE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY CAKE

I had a work buddy (and regular reader here!) who I will unimaginatively refer to as D.T. We survived these shifts by messaging each other in between calls–I remember one lengthy exchange of “There’s a skeeter on my peter”  “Knock it off!”–I’m guessing for no other reason than because we’d been told that YOUR MESSAGES ARE PUBLIC RECORD, SO DON’T SEND ANYTHING YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO READ IN THE NEWSPAPER. Anyway, I sent something smart about the Nemesis–I don’t remember what or why, so I don’t know why I ended my message with “The winds of change are blowing,” but D.T. answered me back with “And they smell like Red Door.” Which, of course, revealed who we’d been talking about. Which became an issue when I somehow hit Print. You have never seen a person sprint across the room to a printer faster, so I could snatch it out from under her hand–“It’s OK, I got this”–I’m surprised she didn’t make me show it to her.

I guess you had to have been there. (I’m picturing Rom shaking his head at my immaturity.) But, of course, many of my readers were there. So they will also understand the undercurrent of hilarity when we received a teletype from another agency that a truckload of Red Door had been stolen.

Someone eventually complained about her perfume, and she started wearing Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea instead, which is a much lighter scent. I actually felt a little sad about that. I’m sometimes tempted to buy a small bottle of Red Door to sniff and relive the moment. I wish her well in her retirement, which occurred a few years ago, but hope our paths don’t cross.

OK, I finally forced a confession out of Nick. He did indeed send the flowers. Also, the instructions with them say, “Keep away from fruits and vegetables.” Why, will they fight?

MEANWHILE, HERE AND NOW…

“Theft suspect left outta here with a bulge in his pants like he was King Kong.”

“Caller said her brother is acting a donkey.” I guess that replaces “actin’ a fool” and “clownin’.” Some time back, we had an epidemic of “monkey ass.” “Send the cops to get his monkey ass outta here!” That, by the way, is why there was a picture of the Six Flags guy pointing to a picture of a monkey on my locker. You had to have been there, too. Well, not at 6 Flags. I saw something on the news where a ride stopped with people stuck at the top for some long period of time. I would be unable to move or speak by the time they got me down.

 

 

 

Day 2: Last Day On Phones

THESE ARE NOT EMERGENCIES

“So you need police because someone is calling you names?”

“Caller complaining that her husband keeps pulling the blanket off her, which makes it a physical dispute.” And then….”Called back saying to cancel, because she doesn’t need the drama.” Well, calling 911 because someone pulled the blanket off you is pretty much the definition of drama.

I just told a guy not to call me “dude.”

THIS, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS AN EMERGENCY

“This is not an emergency.”

“OK, what is the problem?”

“My girlfriend has kidney stones and can hardly walk. She needs an ambulance.”

THOUGHTFUL WHINING

I feel like a weenie for retiring just as soon as I can afford to, but, in the immortal words of Tragically-Hip Nikki, I want to go to that magical land where no one screams at me on the phone and I don’t have to work while I eat. And once I realized it was making me lose my hair, I started wondering what else it might be doing to my health. (Of course, I could also wonder what all the Coke I drink is doing to my health. Oh right, the thousands of dollars in dental work.) So I think 30 years is long enough.

OH HEY, IT’S MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

“Ma’am, officers investigated your complaint of shots fired and determined it was fireworks.”

“Well, if someone was killed, I guess you’ll find them tomorrow morning.” Yeah, I guess we will.

And for everyone assuring us, “I know the sound of a gunshot, and that’s not fireworks”–I once had an officer say he heard gunshots, and another officer nearby said, “No, that was fireworks.” So if even officers can’t always tell the difference, you can’t, either.

One more hour, and I will be freed from the shrill whinny of the phone.

 

Day 3: The Almost-Forgotten Post

It’s like I’m retired already.

LIVING IN THE FUTURE

I will be phones for the last time tomorrow. It’s never good when you’re walking toward the door and you hear a co-worker saying, “I’m not sending them, someone else is sending them,” which is the standard response to, “WHY ARE YOU ASKIN’ ALL THESE QUESTIONS? JUST GET ‘EM OUT HERE!” Everyone knows how to do this job better than we do. Or, “Can’t you give me an address? OK, that’s much better,” which is the standard response to, “AT MY APARTMENT COMPLEX!!!” (Fill in apartment complex name here, or just scream “CAN’T YOU TELL WHERE I’M CALLING FROM??!”  It’s all good.) I myself had someone screaming and crying because she ran out of gas.

In other news, I have finished coloring the octopus (and its extra arms) to the best of my ability, and will be moving on to a pair of elephants with paisleys on them. The instructions say to add my own botanical motifs, but I don’t know if I will follow that directive. There was actually no need to get me an adult coloring book. I’d have done as well with a child’s one, and even better with one of those for really little kids that tell you what color to make each thing. I still remember when I was 5 and my mother encouraged me to be creative and color the grass purple, when the book said  to color it green. I was disturbed by the very suggestion. I will probably be disturbed if I don’t follow the instruction to add my own motifs to the elephants, as well.

 

%d bloggers like this: