Monday, December 15, 2014

if at first you don't succeed....

occasionally, i'll post my most interesting/ridiculous call of the evening.
i really thought my winner this morning would be the woman who thought her water line was broken because she only has cold water coming out of her faucet.*
oh, was i wrong.
we have an account where we handle media clearance calls for an airport system halfway across the country. apparently, they're doing construction at one of the airports, and every tv station in town wants to jump in and cover the story.
one particular station has called me not once, not twice, but thrice.**
call #1: asking for clearance. i gave them the lower level only, to keep them out of the way of construction upstairs.
call #2: cameraman has gotten their van stuck on the lower level. might i be able to hail security to help them back out?
(when i called my contact at the airport, she guessed which station was having the issue- mostly because they'd done the exact same thing a couple of years ago, taking out an antenna and an overhang in the process. needless to say, someone from security was dispatched immediately to provide aid.)
call #3: crew is now upstairs. since work will not begin upstairs until this afternoon, could i give them clearance. (i tried patiently explaining, as kindly as possible, that they were not cleared to be up there, but they were persistent. i called my contact for the account, apologized for the wake-up call, and explained the problem to him.
my instincts were right. logic prevailed.
more importantly, since my caller refused to accept my denial, the account contact was willing to have a chat with the caller, adding the weight of their authority to my words.
*i suggested that her hot water heater might be the more likely culprit.
**every time i use the word "thrice" i want to add something about "chicken soup and rice". i think maybe i read that book a couple times too many during my formative years,

Thursday, December 11, 2014

10-4, good buddy

i can't remember whether i told you or not, but one of my jobs is at an answering service. we answer for a wide variety of businesses. while most of the calls i get during third shift are medical in nature, i also have the ability to get you legal help, mental health assistance, hibachi reservations in three states, someone to take care of just about any water/sewage/heating/air problem you might have and much, much more. 

we also have a few accounts that are fire/safety related. i had an unusual call from one such account last night and, since i'm having kind of a rough evening at work tonight, i figured i'd share it with you.
now, most of the calls on this particular account are from officers who are either letting us know they are 10-41 (beginning their shift) or 10-42 (ending their shift). we simply take down the information and add the message to the queue to be sent to the office in the morning. per the instructions from the office,. all other calls are to be connected or relayed to the supervisor on call.

last night, an officer called in and stated that he was 10-38. i had no idea what this was, so i asked him.

the reply?

"i have to poop."

i don't think i have ever had a grown man utter that phrase to me before, and i can't say i was feeling a huge void in my soul because of it, either. 

he explained that there weren't any appropriate facilities where he was, and he figured he'd be gone for about 20 minutes or so and would call me back upon his return.

rather than make him wait while i dialed the supervisor, i wished him luck and hung up so as not to delay him any further.

the supervisor and i have a good rapport, and when i called him i apologized for bothering him and told him i'd gotten an unusual call and had to pass it along since it was not one of the usual 10-41/10-42 calls.

given the delicate nature of the situation, i simply told him that his officer had called in a 10-38.

"what the heck is a 10-38?"

well, since he asked......

"he has to put this?....take a meeting in his private office."

there was a pause, and then, "oooohhhhhh. tmi."

"well, sir, it's less info than i got."

i told him about the 20-minute ETA and asked if it would be okay if, rather than notifying him of the officer's return, i simply called him if i hadn't heard back from the guy within, say, half an hour, so he could send a search and rescue party. he agreed that that sounded fine.

later, i was telling mama my story and, since she was the third person who'd never heard of a 10-38, she decided to do some research, as surely it did not directly translate to "has to poop".

apparently, some of these codes vary by region. the first translation she found was "stopped suspicious vehicle". this was topped by the charleston, sc translation (and my particular favorite)- "need jaws of life".* there was also a related code, though the exact number escapes me (10-39, maybe?)- "call the coroner".

finally, when i told her where the business was based, she looked up the codes for that city and found that 10-38 is code for "bathroom break". given that the supervisor had no idea what it was, i'm guessing either it's not one of the more commonly used ones, or else maybe he started his career in charleston and was trying to figure out just what had gone down, thinking maybe the officer had gotten his codes mixed up.

*if your situation's that bad, perhaps adding more fiber to your diet will help.