Last night, sometime around 0230 I was dispatched to a fire alarm at a local retirement home. When the call came out I was one fucking street over and way ahead of the fire dept.
I arrived on the scene where the strobes were going and the buzzer was in full blare. I quickly determined there was no fire condition (only a sprinkler system malfunction) so I silenced the alarm because holy fucknuts there was a snail’s pace panic driven mass evacuation occurring that needed to be nipped in the bud.
Seriously, it was a veritable fashion show of flannel nightgowns (or in one case, no nightgown what the actual fuck) meets an Old Fart Disco.
“MR DENNISON CAN’T WALK WE NEED TO GET HIM OUT!”
“Ma’am, it’s okay. There is no fire. Mr. Dennison is fine, we’re going in to check on him.”
“IS THAT A CRICKET IN MY ROOM? WHAT’S THAT NOISE?”
“Well, we had a fire alarm but everything is fine.”
“HELP ME, I CAN’T FIND MY GLASSES!”
And all the while, the slow, shuffling confusion ebbed and flowed around me.
Which is how I found myself directing foot traffic at a four way hallway intersection in the middle of the night. Somehow, face to face with the aging generation who raised me, my cold dead heart softened somewhat. These people have have buried spouses and children and parents. They are in the twilight of their lives and here they are, asses hanging out, helping each other escape an emergency.
I had just accompanied a particularly confused and frazzled women back to her quarters when I noticed a man with no legs sitting in a corner in his wheelchair waiting to be taken back to his room. He was like in behind a ficus.
“Sir, are you okay?” I asked, pushed back some leaves.
“Young man, I fought in two wars and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a clusterfuck as there was here tonight. Thanks for coming to help us out here. You have a tough job and we appreciate your sacrifices.”
Oh my god. I will not cry. I will not cry. I. Will. Not. Fucking. Cry.
Fine, I’ll absolutely cry like a bitch but I’ll wait until I get back to my damn cruiser. And then I’m going to hunt for some fucker selling crack out of his ass.