There was an article in the AJC yesterday about how over 60% of 911 calls made in Atlanta are not actual emergencies. People are calling 911 to get directions, get the forecast, or because there was a snowstorm and they couldn’t find anyone to drive them to Waffle House (true story (possibly was my brother-in-law, Steve)). I would call these people foolish and irresponsible, but then I would be a hypocrite. You see, one time I called 911 when there was no emergency. LB and I vowed that we’d never tell anyone about it, but I think it is time the silence is broken.
It happened about four years ago, not long after LB and I got married. We were renting a 600 square foot basement apartment of a 100yr old house in Midtown Atlanta from two gay men. The apartment had concrete floors, no windows, and only one parking space in the driveway, so I had to park two blocks away and walk home. Despite all those things, LB loved it, I think only because the house had a deck on the roof that overlooked the Atlanta skyline. And because she got the parking space.
It was getting late one night, LB had gone to bed and I think I was in the living room watching Night Court on DVD. Then there was a sudden loud banging sound. It sounded like a cross between a distant explosion and someone dragging a garbage can across concrete. It sounded far away, yet right outside our door. It woke LB up. She came running into the living room, “What was that!?!” Before I could answer, there it was again. What I said aloud: “I don’t know, but I’m sure we’re fine.” What I was thinking: “Oh crap, we’re screwed!” More explosions/garbage can dragging.
LB screamed and ran into the laundry room and shut the door. I was panicked. This was my first test in our short marriage where I had to protect my bride. More explosions/garbage can dragging, now it was constant and sounded like it was surrounding our apartment. I was sure that we were at ground zero of the zombie apocalypse. I grabbed the phone and a butcher’s knife and went into the laundry room with LB. She saw the knife and screamed again. I told her that no matter what I would protect her and imagined myself having to stab the knife into some vagrant’s flesh. I didn’t know if I could actually do it.
Sitting on the floor of the darkened laundry room, we contemplated our next move. I don’t think I can convey how much we were seriously scared for our lives. We just knew we were about to come face to face with our killer, or at least hide under a pile of dirty clothes while he stole our TV. I called 911:
“911. What is your emergency?”
“I’m not really sure, but something is freaking my wife and me out.”
“Could you be more specific, sir?”
“Not really…uh…someone may be outside our house blowing stuff up. Or stealing our garbage can. Or blowing up our garbage can.”
The call went on for several minutes. They initially thought I was pranking them but finally agreed to send an officer. As we waited in the blackness, I began my good-byes, telling LB how even though it had only been a few months, I considered myself lucky to have had the chance to be married to her, and confessing things like how that was my armpit hair on her bar of deodorant last week. When I had finished, you could hear our rapid frantic breaths, which meant the noises had stopped. We listened closely. Nothing. Silence. We waited for it to start back up. It never did.
I called 911 back to tell them. They said the officer was almost there and that he would go ahead and stop by. The officer checked the surrounding area and said he couldn’t find anything, but if we heard anything to not hesitate to call back. After the officer left, we tried to go to bed but couldn’t sleep. I suggested we do like they do in the movies where one of us stands guard while the other gets rest. I took first watch, then it was LB’s turn. I got in bed only to have LB come in and say she was too scared to stay up alone. I suggested she let the honorable Judge Harry T. Stone keep her company but she wasn’t going for it. Eventually, we both woke up the next morning lying on the couch. We had made it through the night.
In an effort to get out of the basement we had been held hostage in all night we decided to go somewhere for breakfast. On the way to the car we saw Mike and Howard, the two men we rented the apartment from:
“You two should have joined us on the balcony last night to admire the beautiful fireworks display.”
“Oh yes. Centennial Olympic Park had a special celebration last night and you could see it from the deck. It was fabulous.”
LB and I looked at each other. It finally made sense, we had called 911 because we thought fireworks were trying to murder us.
What was really happening:
What we thought was happening:
The Archived Post Relevant The Office Quote:
Dwight: There are several ways to kill a zombie, but the most satisfying one is to stab it in the brain with a wooden stick.