For most of my career in law enforcement and later in security work, the feelings I get mostly are like pissing one's pants in a dark suit. You get a warm feeling, but nobody really notices.
Usually nothing happens, which is really a good thing. First, if nothing happens I'm doing my job right because I'm here as a deterrent. Even as a cop, my job was mostly deterrence. Only the severely retarded or blindly drunk idiots do stupid things in front of a uniformed police officer... Although that has happened before. Secondly, the more excitement one gets on the job is in direct correlation and proportionate to the amount of paperwork one has to fill out.
I hate paperwork so usually I don't want anything to happen. Quiet = good, busy = ungood.
Of course that makes for longer nights, but at least I don't go home with writer's cramp and a subpoena for court.
Anyway, the other morning after my shift I stop into the Deli Mart to pick up some things before heading home, gallon of milk, loaf of bread... And the owner of the place pulls me aside. First he asks how the new twelve-hour shifts are working out and then says something to me that I really didn't expect.
"You know Tommy, I'm sure glad you're here at night. There's been a whole lot less shit going on since you've been here..."
I was stunned and really didn't know what to say. Hell, I'm just doing my job. But it did feel good to get a thank you. When I first started this town patrol there was drug deals going on every night in the deli's parking lot. And a lot of other unsavory shit. Just my presence in town at night has all but dried it up. And the word out on the street that I'm not going to take any shit off of anyone either didn't hurt any.
So it felt good to hear it. I didn't expect it or solicit it, but still...
I walked home that morning feeling a little bit better about my job.
On to Barney...
My new shift is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, 8 PM to 8 AM and Wednesday night from 8 PM to 2 Am.
42 hours a week.
Barney is supposed to meet me at the office at 2 AM Thursday morning, the end of my Wednesday night shift. So this morning I'm sitting in the vehicle in front of the deli doing paperwork (crosswords) And I see him shuffling across the lot carrying his lunch bucket...
He's a day early.
Apparently my boss told him to show up Wednesday night at 2 AM... Meaning Thursday morning...
"Eh, Barney... What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here until tomorrow..."
"Tracy said to be here Wednesday night at 2..."
"This isn't Wednesday night... It's Wednesday morning. You're not supposed to be here until tomorrow at this time..."
I get a blank, deer-in-the-headlights look...
So for twenty minutes I have to explain the schedule to him and all the while he's taking copious notes in his dog-eared and tattered notebook... Interjecting my lesson with pointed questions about the difference in military time vs. (his words) normal time.
I tell him to hop in the vehicle and I give him a lift home as he lives right here in town also, and at least he's smart enough not to drive his own vehicle a half mile to work. As I drop him off I tell him I'll pick him up in front of his house tomorrow morning at 0155.
"Is that AM or PM?"
"That's MORNING Barney..."
Why me? Why do I always have to put up with stupid people?
Here's my version of hell: I'm stuck in a room with Barney Fife and Jessica Simpson and the legions of other morons I've had to deal with throughout my life... And I can't escape. For all eternity I'm stuck with people with IQ's of a ficus...
And they all want to ask me questions...
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden