Busy signal

Yesterday we were walking home from our friends’ house when we suddenly found ourselves in a dangerous situation. Two guys in two cars were street racing, flying down the street where we were walking at terribly high speeds, racing through intersections without stopping, and doing doughnuts in those intersections. They were driving like insane people, and there we were on the sidewalk a few feet from them as they raced. I was terrified. All I could picture was one or both of their cars going out of control and coming up onto the sidewalk where we walked.

We managed our way through the two blocks where they were doing most of their stunts, and quickly returned to our house. They showed no sign of stopping: people were now coming out of their homes to see what was happening as a result of the horrible sounds of their tires and the clouds of smoke that literally filled entire blocks as they would pass. During this time, I got on our cell phone and dialed 911. I waited on hold for at least five minutes. Finally, after loading the stroller into the garage and getting the kids upstairs, I was able to use our landline and I got right through. The operator put me through to dispatch and they promised to send a patrol car right over.

The whole thing freaked me out (Doug and I have also been catching up on 24 this week, so maybe I am a little more tense than normal!). But what has continued to bother me is the fact that a cell phone call to 911 may not be answered, at least not quickly. Whenever I go out and about with the kids here, I am always careful to bring my cell phone with me to have in case a situation arises and I need emergency assistance. What I realized last night is that I am probably better off calling Doug or my sister. It is interesting here to have the layers of what I thought were my “securities” stripped away. First it was the bullet holes in our friends’ second story bedroom (I thought we were safe from street gunfire on the second floor). Now it is access to help in an emergency if I am away from my home.


  1. When my father and I where caught in the middle of a drive by last christmas season, my father laughed at the fact that I called 911. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and we were in an african-american neighborhood, he said “They’ll only come to pick up the bodies, not to help”. We never saw one cop car.

  2. Yeah, I can totally relate. Though I must also say that at times I have received quite excellent service from the LAPD as well. How terrifying for you and your dad to be in that situation! I am so sorry!!!

  3. I’ve only seen 24 a time or two. Got turned off fast.

    The show panders to people’s worst fears, which is especially problematical given the current political and cultural machinery working overtime to create another ‘enemy’ we can all fear that will ‘bring us all together.’

    Can’t figure out why anybody living in the inner city would want to add fictional stress to the real thing :^)

  4. You might be right, Tom, though I’m not sure I feel that effect in my life or in the conversations I have with other fans. But, maybe.

    I think it is not strange that, living in the midst of threats and dangers over which I have very little control, I enjoy escaping into a world where Jack Bauer always “gets the guy.”

    But, I will admit that the show has more of an impact than I probably like to admit (and am willing to examine): when Doug and I were first watching the DVDs of the very first season, I actually had to start doing yoga at night before going to bed because I was having all these dreams of being pursued.

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