Friday, September 19, 2008

Sending out an SOS

A couple nights ago, a few of us were meeting for a fine Mexican fiesta in Harvard Square. While waiting and waiting and waiting for a table for eight, our attention was drawn, or rather forced, to a woman screaming--and I mean screaming-- at a little boy in a doorway set back from the cobblestone street.

Here's the thing with cobblestone streets with no vehicular traffic; they echo. What was an assault to the ears became an assault to the heart--because it was impossible to ignore. No one deserves to be screamed at like that, in public, in private, and least of all, a child.

Several people, including our group, inched closer to the action--wanting to step in, but not quite sure how. After a minute or two of back and forth, I decided to simply call the police. I don't know my police codes (Linda, our social worker, was spouting them off) but surely this was a disturbance of the peace at the very least.

So I dial 911.






That's right, five rings, no pickup. At this moment, the woman decided to stop verbally scarring her son (who was 9 or 10) and was on a collision course with our group. In a moment of panic, I hung up the phone.

Less than half a second later, I realized how stupid that was. You can't call and hang up on 911 -- it freaks them out, and they call you back wanting to know what your emergency is. (I would know from one Sunday afternoon at 7 years of age.) Oh wait, guess what. Emergency services didn't call back.

Five rings and no call back. All of the sudden I don't feel very safe in Cambridge, Mass. Until the other night, I knew you couldn't count on most people, but you could always count on 911. My eternal trust had been broken.

Now all of the sudden, I have a stake in this year's presidential race. Who's going to clean up the emergency services of our fine land? Who's going to restore my faith in a 2-ring minimum pick up and a guaranteed call back? (How else will they know I'm in danger when I'm locked in the trunk of a creeper's creep-mobile?) Who? Who can understand?

I turned on the news this morning and holy stars! the very issue was being discussed. Governor Palin's state doesn't even have emergent services so she clearly doesn't know how to fix the system; but never fear. Obama blinked his eyes this morning and solved the problem at hand. Analysts are trying to decide if this blink happened before or after the economy-fix blink and the health-care blink. But glory hallelujah, it's fixed before he's even in office.

Excuse me please, I'm going to call 911.


maWeesa said...

ugh.. that does make me feel unsafe that they didn't call back.. i mean honestly.. 911 is the only thing that makes me feel safe when i'm cruising around the projects late at night alone

ju said...

i seem to recall that the belmont police were preemptively ready. they'd come by the house every few nights to shoot the breeze and make sure everything was ok. then again, it is the Lord's town, so maybe that had something to do with it...

i'm just saying, maybe you should consider another move.

Alaina said...

Oooo scary. Seriously.

I want to cry for that little boy. The world can be so sad.

Maybe I'll see him in my treatment center in a few more years. It's the crazy parents I tell you, not the kids...

Linda said...

it's just a matter of time before our emergency services goes computer opperated, press 1 for carjacking, press 2 for assault, press 3 for assault with a weapon, press 4 for unwanted intruder...

meanwhile your dead.

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