“Fire station,” my partner answers the phone while I groan in my sleep. “No ma’am, we don’t do that. No, the chief’s not here. I’ll pass that on, sorry.”
“Who?” I manage.
“Lady on the East end. We didn’t pick up her garbage this morning. It’s garbage day and she wants to know why we skipped her.”
“But we don’t . . .oh hell, never mind.”
Who calls a fire station and why?
The answer might surprise you, and, to that end – with the help of my wonderful coworkers – I have compiled a Top Ten list of Silliest Calls for Help:
1) Garbage Collecting. It’s not in our scope of practice; it’s odd to us that so many residents believe it to be. In fact, we ourselves often forget to put our own garbage out, and have been known to come flying out the door with a Hefty bag while the truck meanders on past.
2) Pool Maintenance. We can’t fill your new pool with water from our tanker. That water is reserved for fires, and besides it came from the canal and, trust me, you would never, ever want to swim in it. No, we don’t know how to make it clean.
3) If you are the Captain and you want to offer us a cruise . . . We do want to go, we do! But no matter how long we “hold” you never come back.
4) Utilities. Beyond our control! And if you’re ComCast, we can’t add the fancy movie channels. Some of those might be inappropriate anyway. Our trustees are religious and they pay the bills.
5) We’re not always sure what time the post office is closed for lunch.
6) Or what the supper special at the local tavern is.
7) Or why there’s no school today.
8) We’ll be glad to set up the meeting room for the Cub Scouts, but we can’t help you with how many snacks you’ll need to bring.
9) The Chief will get mad at us if we let your children and Dalmatian puppy pose on the truck for a family portrait. You call him.
10) We would love to come and kill the bat fluttering around your kitchen but you’re not even in our district and if somebody here has a heart attack while we’re out there swinging a tennis racket . . . well, that could get ugly.
Which of course brings us to all the millions of good, good reasons to call us! Don’t wait if you have pain or sickness or fire! If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, your life alert beeps or your car door slams on your fingers! We’ve come for dogs in the canal and even cats in trees. We love you! We just can’t do anything about the garbage pick-up.
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