February 13, 2005

Nothing To See Here

How many of you out there have ever come home at 4:30 am to find your building roped off with police tape, 6 cop cars and a news van out front and officers meandering about?
I didn't think so.
It was one of those moments that you think only happens in movies (I would so be played by that hot gardener on Desperate Housewives in the film version). I get out of a cab with Victor, just having finished a night out, intending to hit the diner for coffee and post mortem on the evening (suddenly wishing I had chosen a term other than "post mortem", but I'm too lazy to go back and erase it now)when I realize that my building and the two on either side are roped off with police tape, and police cars are all but blocking the street. I broke into a run, because that's what you do when you discover that your building is now a crime scene and you have friends, a cousin and a sister inside.

Upon reaching the nearest officer, explaining that I live there and asking what happened and if anyone was hurt, I was told: "Someone got stabbed."
Now, I'm a rational person. But you'd think that officer McVague could have given a little more detail to a resident of the building. I understand protecting the investigation/not wanting the public to know details etc, but I actually had to ASK if I should be concerned for the safety of my sister, cousin and friends. OK, maybe not ask. It was more of a frantic
Quoth Officer McVague: "Do you have ID?"
Now, for those of you who don't live in Manhattan, let me explain a little something: NO ONE has their current address on their license. I have moved 5 times in 4 years. I don't even drive anymore. By the time I got an updated license, I'd have moved again. Granted my license still has the address of a house my parents sold 4 years ago, but that's beside the point. The ID is strictly for drinking purposes.
Still without information about the wellbeing of my friends and family, I explained to him as fast as possible that I lived there but my ID did not indicate as such. His brilliant followup request to verify my residence: Show me your keys.
Finally, upon presenting my keys (I am not even going to go into how seeing my keys meant that I lived there. Unless Officer McVague has some kind of superpower to tell if a key fits into a lock from 100 feet away. Man, they could have used him on the Amazing Race Finale.) I was told "Relax about your sister. It was two men, and they were stabbed in the chicken place two doors from your building."
I am so deadbolting the door tonight.
I must say, however, that it's better than last year's ill-fated Mid January Vacation in Puerto Rico, when Sister called Drunk Dan at 3:00am.
Sister: Hey, I just wanted to let you know that there's lots of smoke in your bedroom. I unplugged everything, but I don't know where it's coming from. It's really weird. Hey there are firetrucks out front. Hm. The firemen are really running. They're coming into the building. Why are they coming in the building?
Audible crash
Voice I Can Only Assume Was A Fireman: Miss, you have to come with me right now.
Sister: Dan, I have to go, they're making me leave the building. I'll call you later. (to Fireman) OK! Just let me get the cat and the iguana! Geez! It's not like there's fire in the hallway or... oh. Click.
Dan: (Sits mouth agape, still trying to reason his way out from Rum-induced stupor. Eventually shakes sleeeping ex boyfriend) Honey, that was my sister. My building is on fire. But don't worry. The fireman broke down the door and took her out. I think she got the cat and iguana too.
At this point it all kind of dissolves into hysterical phone calls to parents and friends in the neighborhood.
Mind you, this was actually the highlight of that particular holiday. (Another story for another time - one of Caroline's Boyfriend's favorites actually. It was a darker time, when I briefly flirted with changing my name to Job. Job? Wager between God and Satan? Boils? Failed Crops? No? Oh come on! Read a Bible, People. He has his own book in there! Anyone? Bueller? Sigh.)


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