Let’s Get Serious: Wrong

by pjmcbride

Small Consumer Firework on the 4th of July

Small Consumer Firework on the 4th of July (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When exactly did it become a constitutional right to shoot off fireworks? Is there some amendment I missed? Last night, Foxy’s husband, who is a police officer and a gentleman in the best sense of both words, was assaulted while directing traffic after the 4th of July festivities by some people who thought they had a right to block said traffic, and a right to throw fireworks at those who objected, and that the police had no right to stop them. And, to add insult to injury (literally), the sizable crowd witnessing this did nothing to stop it. So, freedom’s just another word for doing whatever the hell you want, and the hell with everyone else.

OK, enough of that, because thinking about it just makes me angry. Let us speculate on something somewhat lighter, but also having to do with rights and obligations. Namely: how are Dispatch call-ins affected by the rise of cell phones? (By the way, I plan on dealing with the effects of cell phones at greater length in a future post. “Thanks for the warning,” they say, sensing another lecture approaching.)

Some years back, the question came up in contract negotiations–Are we obligated to give Them our cell phone numbers for the purpose of overtime call-ins, in addition to our home numbers? At that time, the union said this was the equivalent of being on call, and would require additional compensation (a/k/a “more money”). The current rule is that we only have to give Them our cell # if that’s our only phone, which happens to be true in my case. (I knew it was time to get rid of the land line when I saw Rom get out his cell to call for pizza, ALTHOUGH HE WAS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO OUR LAND LINE PHONE AT THE TIME.) This raises a question…

I was at Thornton’s this afternoon when I received a voice mail. Seeing that it was from work, and that it was shortly after 3pm, and that I was (I thought) on vacation, I had a moment of panic. When exactly did my vacation end? Not today, surely? I’d checked it last night, but I am, after all, fallible. There was no problem, it turned out, just a routine question, but it got me wondering. Suppose it had been an overtime call-in. Since the only phone I have enables Them to reach me anywhere, am I required to respond, no matter where I am when I get the call? Formerly, they could only reach me at home. If I wasn’t home, too bad. They do attempt to follow up by sending the officer working that beat to your house, to knock on the door and see if you’ll answer. (“Open up! This is the police!” is a great conversation starter.) In the Age of the Almighty Cell Phone, would they send the car in my beat (a certain Nick, with whom you may be familiar) to attempt to track me down at the places I regularly haunt? I could imagine a really awkward conversation taking place at Thornton’s. No, Nick, you are not authorized to take me into custody under those circumstances, although a ride to work would be appreciated.