We don’t know how it happens, most of us, but when the buttons are depressed, it doesn’t matter. All we know is that help is supposed to arrive on the other end of the line. What is amazing, is that it does. No, I haven’t yet witnessed the serious misplay of signals and heard the agonizing death or continued battering that was yearning for my help, but in time I know it may happen. A nearly perpetual un-ease as the tone sounds in my ear; an equally perpetual wondering if this is going to be the one that may change my life forever. It can change things like that, I know it. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of that disaster, but it must come, for life knows no way of stopping the things that have been set in motion. No amount of prayer or forethought is going to prevent the inevitability in life. It just happens. Frantic voices and then ones of grogged sleep and substance induced stupors, lucid memories of the things that used to be there and the distressed sighs of the aged ones who just can’t remember. Were they going to come this Tuesday or next Tuesday? Why haven’t they shown up yet? They were only coming from across town and it seems they should have been here hours ago and I lost my cell phone and need a report number for the insurance and the man next door refuses to turn down his stereo and my babies are trying to sleep and I just got done seeing patients until three this morning and I would so like to get some sleep before I have to start the day again and don’t you know that damned dog just won’t shut up and the man just kept hitting her and she was crying, screaming for help and I had to call and now I’m taking my babies downstairs to my daddy’s apartment so they won’t be upstairs where all of that stuff is happening and the one Indian guy was grabbing the lady around the throat and smashing her head into the lamp post and I didn’t know what else to do and you’ve got to send help quick…. And so we do our best to get the numbers in the right places and depress the right keys so that help can be sent with the speed of an electronic beep to rescue the perishing. God rest ye, merry gentlemen.
“You don’t pray before you send your kids out there into the world? How can you know that they’re going to be safe?” You don’t know, I can’t know, and neither can you. Shall I pray to Peter Pan? Will Prince Charming rescue me like the risen savior? Isn’t it all the same thing? Who can know? How can you ask that of someone so believing of the stories they’ve heard? How can you dare to ask such a thing of someone like that? I don’t ask it, I just wonder it.
I left behind friends and security to gain trepidation and a few dollars more an hour and the prospect of earning even more as time proceeds onward. Probation for a year and who knows what’s going to happen in that year. I keep telling myself to relax. Just relax and answer the phone. Almost one hundred and sixty times today I just answered the phone and tried to just answer questions or just send help on the way.