Tag Archives: life

What It’s Like to Be a Police Officer

I started watching Officer401’s YouTube channel a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t remember how I came across it (probably as a related video to those I was watching about encounters between motorcyclists and cops).  This video provides a glimpse into the intangible aspects of enforcing the law.

The true crime, forensic science, and mortuary science books that I’ve read discuss death and decay due to violence or natural causes in great detail, but to hear some of what it’s like to “see” death through the eyes of a law enforcement agent transcends the written word.  Even when I can’t see his face or its shape, it’s just his great narrator’s voice and a hand or two for elaboration, I feel privy to something profound.  I am also reminded that I while I can imagine what it would be like to come across a dog hovering around the body of its dead owner or a household of severely malnourished children, I can’t know what it’s like.

I wonder how long it takes to habituate to smells, sights, and textures that one cannot un-smell, un-see, un-touch?  Do people with lousy sensory perception acclimate faster?  I’m sure there are Reddit threads about it.  I found this thread about the stupidest call an officer has ever taken (good read).

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Gotta Do It Right Now

I had lunch at Fuego Mundo today; I ordered the yucca fries and chicken with Spanish rice and cucumber salad.

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It was a busy lunch for the two waitresses bringing out orders and the woman clearing tables.  As I was enjoying the delicious yucca, chicken, and rice, I observed the waitress who was ostensibly single-handedly taking orders, giving checks to respective diners, and distributing dine-in and take-out food.  She moved with the smoothness and briskness of a summer breeze.  I wonder how many miles she walks just between the dining area, the beverage counter, the registers, and the kitchen counter (which is visible to the customers).

As far as I could discern, the other diners were patient in their requests for checks, waters, being seated, and readying to give their orders.  In the last ten minutes I was there, waiting for a to-go box, a bag and the check, I watched this woman handle the momentous demands of things that have to happen now.

In my line of work, even when I have ten emails I need to prioritize to read and answer whilst figuring out why an image isn’t appearing correctly on a web page and app as well as looking for a better image to upload for a different web site and app, the sense of urgency to complete these tasks isn’t so heavy that I can’t focus on what really needs to get done “now” vs. within thirty minutes or before the end of business hours.

This woman’s list of “do now” truly means do now.  If that “now” becomes “in a couple of minutes,” most customers would probably understand.  There’s probably a best practice of order of operations.  For instance, seat new diners, get their drinks out, then check with diners who appear to be finished if they want desert or a box or just the check.  Bring out drinks before orders that are ready?  Deliver additional napkins, silverware, straws, or dipping sauces before you take the food orders of the table you know have been ready for the time it took you to seat another party and take their drink orders?

What other jobs or industries consist of a similar air of do now?  Combat soldiers, paramedics, firefighters, airplane pilots, surgeons, school principals, receptionists, bank tellers, plumbers, electricians, hosts of live TV shows, what else?

What’s the worst that would happen in your profession if you didn’t do something “now” or you focused on the “wrong” sequence of things?

Would an athlete participating in a televised game feel any differently than an athlete in a non-televised competition in the matter of “do it now?”  Or, do the rules of the game mitigate legitimate, adrenaline-inducing urges to score already.

A Sense of Belonging and the Miraculous

When I was washing my hair tonight, my mind wandered to what-if scenarios involving gunshots and holy texts.  Imagine, if you would, a group of friends (or strangers) traveling in one car on the way to an interfaith service.  With their destination just around the bend, they get caught in a crossfire at an intersection between a band of thieves and a few off-duty police officers.  Each of the five inhabitants of that car gets shot.  Legs, arms, torsos, and abdomens get punctured.

Or do they?

Customers at a nearby gas station hear the gunshots and call the paramedics.  After arriving at the emergency room and receiving treatment from the hospital staff, it becomes apparent that even though these individuals were each struck three times, none of the injuries were life-threatening.  Major arteries missed by centimeters, ball-and-sockets missed cleanly, and no reproductive parts were put in disarray.

Imagine the look of disbelief or curiosity on the nurses and doctors’ faces when they summarize the condition of the patients to the patients.  The Buddhist was saved by his Star Trek dvd box set that he clutched against his chest while driving.  The Muslim, sitting shotgun, was saved by the Qur’an leaning against his chest.  The non-denominational Christian was saved by the pocket NIV Bible he kept in his breast pocket.  The Wiccan was saved by an Oxford Dictionary, you guessed it, leaning against her bosom.  The football player was saved by his playbook and his 10,000 Youtube Subscriber award.

Would each person thank their god?  Would each person feel that their surviving is proof that there is a god and that there is only their god?  Or, would they be back to square one wondering that if they all lived, it’s impossible to know which god is “right” and if there really is a god at all? Which holy text is right?  Moreover, the football player puts a variable on things.  Either he made it because he was with deists or because it was a coincidence and his presence somehow negated the certainty that the rest of them had regarding the nature of the Divine.  The Buddhist would probably be the most chill, right?  He’d chalk everything up to the rhythm of life as would the Wiccan.

On the other hand, if this car were filled with atheists and one law-of-attraction practitioner and they were saved by various non-holy texts (a Bluray box set, a cookbook, an iPad, a giant stuffed bear), would they attribute their survival to coincidence? Dumb luck? Or look at the law-of-attractioner for an explanation?

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On Synchronicity

I was reading about synchronicity the other night and The Enigma of the Search in liminal moments where I was getting ready to sleep or waiting for an hour to pass.  I have experienced synchronicity in my life and have seen that extra dose of ain’t-this-cool that such events can bring.  Earlier this week I had my mind set upon obtaining this  Criterion DVD box set but didn’t follow through with my intention because the price wasn’t right.  I told a friend about it and minutes later, he told me that Criterion as having a 50% flash sale for twenty-four hours and the promo code was LOVE.

Fast-forward to today.  I recounted what happened on my bookface and am copying and pasting it here:

There’s an adage about man making plans and transcendent entities just laughing. I made plans today to go to the Funwoody Barnes & Noble to get my morning caffeine fix and Mary Roach’s book Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War* followed by an oil change (and more). Well, I got to Barnes & Noble at 8:52 am, not realizing that they didn’t open until 9 am. Because I didn’t want to wait nine minutes for the doors to open, I went to a nearby Starbux for a soy latte. As I was headed back to my car, I heard a man’s voice coming from my left.

“Excuse me, ma’am. Do you have a dollar?”

I’d noticed this man earlier but didn’t think more if it. He wore all black and was bundled up like any cold temperature morning. I walked closer to him and asked if he wanted an almond croissant (which I got from Starbux in addition to the latte). He thanked me but declined as his hunger was focused on grits. I gave him a dollar, remarked that it was a good and sunny day not windy like yesterday, and told him to have a good day. He responded with appreciation and noted that I was a beautiful woman…presumably for not ignoring him and not giving him the stink-eye.

Normally, I ignore questions people ask me when I’m going back to my car (unless they’re about directions or the time). I didn’t ignore this question, though. Had my morning gone as I’d “planned,” I wouldn’t have had this experience.

Oh, and no oil change today because I have to get a timing cover oil leak fixed and there’s no sense and getting two oil changes in less than a week.  

It occurred to me that there was an amount of “pre-production” that had to happen in order for me to have had that experience. The book I wanted was supposed to be available at the Buckhead B&N, which it wasn’t when I went there on Thursday. They told me the Perimeter and the Forum locations had it. Thus, my trip to the Perimeter this morning. And, I typically get Saturday soy lattes from a specific Starbux and I didn’t do it this morning because I figured, “going to B&N, might as well get it there.” I ended up getting the book at the Forum.

I also picked up Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016) on DVD.   I’ve thought about my actions from this morning and have only come up with this “reason” for why I didn’t ignore the man.  It would have been rude not to acknowledge him — practically, I was the only other person around at that moment.  It would have been so obvious to him that I was choosing to pretend he wasn’t there.  It would have made me feel bad and ashamed.  I wasn’t “thinking” any of this stuff, but a part of me knew it.

Hearing that question, “Do you have a dollar?” was like being on a stage with a spotlight shining straight into my face.  I’ve lived my entire life doing everything I can to be backstage or in the audience — never on the stage.  I won’t shy away from other audience members or crew members off-stage, but I have tried to hide myself in other capacities.  In that moment, the universe had seen me and I couldn’t make myself blend in with my surroundings or distract it with tales of absurdity or morbidness.

Instead of wondering if I’d passed the test, I’d like to know, well, what next?

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*I saw the book mentioned on this Reddit thread.

Insult Like You Mean It

A few years ago I posted about a book called Insults & Comebacks, a collection of witticisms that bite and punch.  They are hilarious and depending on one’s delivery, the lines could come off as just the right amount of dry humor:

“I’ve had a lot to drink, and you still don’t look good.”

“Just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t suffering.”

“We’ve taken a vote: you’re trying too hard.”

“You still think you can be anything you want–and get paid for it.”

“Your lack of experience is matched only be your surplus of ego.”

“Ignorance can be cured. Stupid is forever.”

“It’s not the technology–it’s you.”

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Today, I came across this thread on Reddit about insults and found even more awesome ways of saying some unkind things that are funnier than they are plain mean.

Why are you playing so hard to get when you’re already hard to want?

You’re the dollar menu version of your father.

The only way for you to get laid is to crawl up a chicken’s ass and wait.

If you were any more inbred you’d be a sandwich.

You’re so ugly, your portraits hang themselves.

May you inherit a house with a thousand rooms and be found dead in every one of them.
Your teeth look like they’re throwing gang-signs.
I would ask you what your problem is, but you probably can’t pronounce it.
Does your ass get jealous of the shit that comes out of your mouth?
You’ll never be the man your mother is!
You’re as useful as a screen door on a submarine
If I wanted to kill myself, I would climb to your ego and jump down to your IQ.
I’ve had worse things said about me by better people.
I’d call you a cunt but you lack warmth and depth.