Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Tag: Mobile phone

Famous Last Words/Mildly Amusing Crises in Progress

Basement

Basement (Photo credit: howzey)

2! 2! 2 posts in one! What I meant to post last night, plus what I came up with for today. So no, you’re not really getting anything extra; it’s just my inefficient delivery system.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

What should have got wrote yesterday, and wasn’t, because, well, because I wanted to listen to Bruce Springsteen played just a little too loud instead. I gotta develop better work habits.

It was 5 minutes before the end of the shift, and I received a call from a woman who thought there might be an intruder in her basement. The person relieving me had already arrived, and was standing beside me waiting for me to finish this call. The caller told me about how her basement has a separate door to the outside, and it sounded like someone was trying the doors to their storage units–it sounded like a pretty creepy basement to me. While I was thus engaged in visualizing their creepy basement, and the potential intruder therein, and also noting that it was now 3 minutes before the end of the shift, an officer called me on the radio–“2E34, need you to run a driver’s status.” (3rd shift always starts off  eager and needy.) “Stand by,” I told him on the air, took my foot off the pedal, and muttered, “And I’m about to go home, so screw it.” FORGETTING THAT, you guessed it, I WAS STILL ON THE PHONE. “Pardon me?” said the caller–not hostile, just genuinely perplexed, no doubt thinking, I couldn’t have just heard what I thought I heard. And I let her go on thinking that, too–I blithely continued asking questions as if nothing untoward had happened. Maybe I should have apologized, but I don’t know that “I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to the officer calling me on the radio,” would have sounded much better, even if I’d explained, “He couldn’t hear me–it’s just between the two of us.” So rattled was I, that after finishing the call, I hurriedly signed out of the two million computer programs you need to sign out of before you can leave, and left, having never run that driver’s status, so sorry, Lori. So yes, I am tattling on myself, and I’m just glad there are no supervisors reading this–oh, there are? Oh, screw it.

But, as proof that this door swings both ways, the night before, I was city dispatch, and gave out updated location information on a run, and Officer Sarcastic responded with, “That would have been good information to have.” (You know, as in “…five minutes ago.”) I’m sure no one realized how devastating my ensuing silence was. Nick would have realized it–it would make his blood run cold to think of speaking to me that way on the air–but he is currently on leave, to bond with his new cub (and I advise being very cautious when approaching their den–avoid loud noises or sudden movements).

MILDLY AMUSING CRISES IN PROGRESS

Sooo–I was off work today (and good thing, too, don’t you think?) and standing at the bus stop, and heard two women screaming curses at each other. “F*ck you! You’re a f*ckin’ bitch!” “Yeah? Well, f*ck you!” and several other such sentiments, mostly composed of variations on the word f*ck. Then a young woman hove into view, stomping along in the manner of the righteously indignant, with a baby in her arms wearing only a diaper, and a little girl holding her hand, dressed in a T-shirt and a diaper. The girl looked a little too old for diapers, but who am I to judge. Once they were out of sight, a slightly older woman came along, carrying a garbage bag of personal belongings, and asked me, “Did you see where that girl with two kids went?” “That way, ” I said, and then worried that I’d told the f*cking bitch where to go to start the f*cking fight back up again. Then a squad car pulled up to a house down the street, so I called 911 (“Calling Emergency Number,” my cell phone said, in case I hadn’t noticed) and told them where the whole cavalcade had gone, in case the officer was looking for trouble. So yes, in my own small way, I was Part of the Problem.

Then my bus arrived, and I had another adventure (2 in one day–I’m not cut out for this). It was a short bus (no snickering, please), and every seat was full. So I ended up situating myself behind the seats, where the wheelchairs tie up, so now I can say I spent a bus ride on my knees. When I got to my stop, I was able to jump up from my knees easily, which I’m sure has some deeper symbolic meaning that doesn’t bear further inspection. And on the way, saw another police car Doing Business with some driver, so Nick, the Wild West has gone out of control in your absence.

I Hate Cell Phones

English: A cell phone tower in Palatine, Illin...

English: A cell phone tower in Palatine, Illinois, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, this link: http://voices.yahoo.com/what-not-calling-911-12214079.html?cat=9

It says a lot of stuff I’ve been planning to say here. One of the Three Big Posts I keep threatening you with is on the topic of cell phones, so let’s get started, since I can do this instead of working on an essay for a writing contest I supposedly want to enter. (Working on it? How about starting it?) (The deadline is the 24th, by the way.)

When cell phones started catching on, “I hate cell phones!” was commonly heard in the operations room at Dispatch. It’s seldom heard now, because cell phones have become, well, just phones, but they are still hated. Let me count the ways:

Way 1: The never-ending stream of hangups, or calls where you can tell you’re in someone’s pocket. (Does anyone ever notice a tiny voice saying, “911! I’m in your pocket! Help meeee!!”) Or the children playing on the phone. The bratty ones don’t bother me as much as the ones who are obviously too young to know better–they just got handed an old phone as a toy. And the key word for this problem is NEVER-ENDING. How many times do we call people back and say, “Your cell phone dialed 911. If you have an emergency, call back and give us your location. If not, please lock your keypad”?
Wouldn’t you think all those people we call back, and the ones we track down and tell, “Don’t give an old phone to your child unless you take out the battery first” would get the message and IT WOULD STOP? THE FLOOD OF CALLS WOULD EVENTUALLY DIE DOWN TO A TRICKLE? BUT YET WE KEEP GETTING AS MANY, OR MORE, EVERY DAY? Why is this, exactly? Let’s ask John Q. Public–oh, he says, “Locking my keypad is just one more thing to think about in my busy modern life, so you all can just answer one more useless phone call, wasting my time and yours when you have to call me back. And if I take the battery out of my old phone before giving it to my kid, it won’t flash and beep and be fun! Duh!” (I hear a ghostly voice saying, “It’s your job, deal with it.” Why is my conscience sounding like Nick all of a sudden? That’s just creepy.)

But all this is trivial (well, except for the person with a real emergency trying to get through while we’re all busy calling back cellphone hangups) compared to

Way 2: I really think cell phones have changed the public’s interactions and expectations regarding law enforcement, and not for the better. Think about it. In the old days, someone cut you off in traffic, or someone you started an altercation with in high school followed you to the mall after school, and the situation eventually blew over, and you went home and forgot about it. Now, you call 911 while you’re still terrified and/or enraged, and scream “I’M BEING FOLLOWED! GET SOMEBODY OUT HERE NOW! NO, I CAN’T STOP AND WAIT FOR THE POLICE! SOMEONE’S TRYING TO KILL ME!” driving wildly, endangering everybody, all for something that would have died down of its own accord if you didn’t have the expectation of immediate assistance. It’s become routine for people to follow hit and run drivers, thinking the Magic Cell Phone will keep them safe. I know of at least two additional accidents that have occurred that way. Likewise, “I have them blocked in so they can’t leave.” You wouldn’t have dared do that if you couldn’t yell, “I got the cops on the line!” It feeds into the mindset of “I shouldn’t have to remove myself from the dangerous situation. I got a right to be out here!” In the past, you might have realized it was unwise to exercise that right under these circumstances. But why go back in the house when you can just stand on your porch and yell into the phone?

Way 3: A lot of people watch too much TV and think a cell phone is a magic tracking device–just dial 911, and no further action is required of you. The 911 operator will be able to tell by the screaming that it’s an emergency, and they know exactly where you are, so there you go! I’ve had people who thought we know exactly where every cell phone is at all times–“I’ve lost my cell phone, can you track it for me?”

So, I counted the ways, and there are 3 of them. Hmm. OK, then, is there a solution! No! Evolution of technology? Evolution of human beings? As our training material keeps saying, You can change your attitude! OK, then–drugs? Flogging? (“How about shorter posts?” they whisper.)

Let’s Get Serious: Wrong

Small Consumer Firework on the 4th of July

Small Consumer Firework on the 4th of July (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When exactly did it become a constitutional right to shoot off fireworks? Is there some amendment I missed? Last night, Foxy’s husband, who is a police officer and a gentleman in the best sense of both words, was assaulted while directing traffic after the 4th of July festivities by some people who thought they had a right to block said traffic, and a right to throw fireworks at those who objected, and that the police had no right to stop them. And, to add insult to injury (literally), the sizable crowd witnessing this did nothing to stop it. So, freedom’s just another word for doing whatever the hell you want, and the hell with everyone else.

OK, enough of that, because thinking about it just makes me angry. Let us speculate on something somewhat lighter, but also having to do with rights and obligations. Namely: how are Dispatch call-ins affected by the rise of cell phones? (By the way, I plan on dealing with the effects of cell phones at greater length in a future post. “Thanks for the warning,” they say, sensing another lecture approaching.)

Some years back, the question came up in contract negotiations–Are we obligated to give Them our cell phone numbers for the purpose of overtime call-ins, in addition to our home numbers? At that time, the union said this was the equivalent of being on call, and would require additional compensation (a/k/a “more money”). The current rule is that we only have to give Them our cell # if that’s our only phone, which happens to be true in my case. (I knew it was time to get rid of the land line when I saw Rom get out his cell to call for pizza, ALTHOUGH HE WAS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO OUR LAND LINE PHONE AT THE TIME.) This raises a question…

I was at Thornton’s this afternoon when I received a voice mail. Seeing that it was from work, and that it was shortly after 3pm, and that I was (I thought) on vacation, I had a moment of panic. When exactly did my vacation end? Not today, surely? I’d checked it last night, but I am, after all, fallible. There was no problem, it turned out, just a routine question, but it got me wondering. Suppose it had been an overtime call-in. Since the only phone I have enables Them to reach me anywhere, am I required to respond, no matter where I am when I get the call? Formerly, they could only reach me at home. If I wasn’t home, too bad. They do attempt to follow up by sending the officer working that beat to your house, to knock on the door and see if you’ll answer. (“Open up! This is the police!” is a great conversation starter.) In the Age of the Almighty Cell Phone, would they send the car in my beat (a certain Nick, with whom you may be familiar) to attempt to track me down at the places I regularly haunt? I could imagine a really awkward conversation taking place at Thornton’s. No, Nick, you are not authorized to take me into custody under those circumstances, although a ride to work would be appreciated.

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