Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm Fine

Ah, anger, such sweetness coursing through the veins. No better a time to write down your thoughts than in the unforgiving, irrational haze of rage.

So, I made my first call to 911 today. It was by no means all that important, but I'm given to the impression that it's a good way to get in touch with police dispatch. I felt that the police should know that the traffic lights at De Anza and Highway 280 were out of order, flashing red, at possibly the worst time possible: rush hour. To avoid trouble, it would be prudent to dispatch officers to direct traffic until the problem was solved.

I did not call lightly. After I had driven through the mess and it showed no sign of abating, I thought for a few moments about whether it would be worth tying up the emergency response line for something like this. I figured that almost nobody else was going to; I learned that one in my psychology class: dissolution of social responsibility. Given the circumstances, I figured that an accident was probable. I've never called 911 before, so I also figured that I should overcome my fear of the whole process. What probably tipped the scales though is that today is September Eleventh, and I'm a sucker for irony, particularly when numbers are involved. Here follows (annotated) my conversation.

    Dispatch: S*** *lara ***Emergency*** ********. (cell phone issues)

    Kris: I'm sorry?

    Dispatch: You called 911 emergency. Do you have an emergency?

    Sarcastic Kris: No, I'm just lonely and nobody else answers my calls.

    Real Kris: Ah, yes. The lights at De Anza and 280 are flashing red and traffic's highly backed up. We need officers directing traffic.

    Dispatch: That's the Sheriff's Department.

    Angry Kris: You are a police dispatcher, right?

    Dispatch: It's rush hour.

    Angry Kris: This I can see.

    Dispatch: You treat a flashing red like a stop-sign.

    Angry Kris: Yes, yes. I'm not a pedestrian. I earned the right to pilot this explosives-propelled-two-ton-brick-of-death by passing the twenty question multiple choice test just like everyone else out here. The problem isn't a matter of understanding what I need to do. I got through the intersection some time ago. Don't assume that I'm a whiny punk stuck in traffic crying for help. I'm trying to help here. The problem is throughput. There are stop-lights here because stop-signs don't have enough throughput to support this kind of traffic. The stop-lights are broken. We need uniformed officers to direct traffic because they can emulate the throughput of a stop-light until they're fixed.

    Dispatch: As long as everyone obeys the law, there will be no problems.

    Angry Kris: One would think that you, more than any person in the world, would appreciate how dreadfully naive that statement is.

    Real Kris: Alright, thank you very much.

    Angry Kris: I'm going to hang up now because giving you a piece of my mind is not what this phone line is for and I don't want to keep you from your fiddle practice.

    Dispatch (suddenly cheerful): You're welcome.

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