Last night Katie and I sat up watching some show about strange 911 calls. The show features recordings of actual calls which are dramatized by actors, and some commentary by 911 dispatchers or cops. We were both tired which I’m sure attributed to our level of shock and how hard we laughed at some points of the show.
Many of the calls were played for comedy: the woman who called 911 after an ambulance on an emergency call blocked her car in at a store parking lot causing her to be late for her daughter’s birthday party; the call to emergency services by a woman who was served an undercooked waffle at a restaurant; the guy who called to ask that some emergency responders come and remove a woman who he’d brought home and was now snoring in his bed, all offered some funny moments, at least to me an uninvolved hearer of the prepared stories.
There were a couple of heartbreaking calls. There was a call from a woman asking if a police officer or fireman could pick up her prescription, not until after 9:00, it wouldn’t be ready till then. A guy called when his refrigerator failed, resulting in a big metal box full of bad food. He sounded distressed. What else was going on there?
Even the outrageous calls, the ones that tied up emergency lines for what to many of us might seem absurdities or trivialities – what factors pushed those individuals to take those stands at those specific times and places? What had happened in the preceeding days, weeks, months, and years? Why did those particular events become emergencies?