Last night we were caught between two tornadoes, apparently. But I’ll get back to that.
Mistakes. We all make them from time to time. I certainly have. Several months ago, a friend called. They’d moved across county and I hadn’t heard from them in about 8 months.
I lost their address, and have been hoping they’d call back ever since because Mr. P doesn’t seem to be listed in the phone book.
More recently, I opened up a manuscript and was skimming over the first page and caught a mistake. How many bloody times did I go over that thing? And it wasn’t only read by me – I can think of three other people who’ve gone over that section of the story with the actual purpose of giving me critique and we all missed it. The mistake? ‘His’ instead of “He’. Sigh.
I say this so it doesn’t sound like I’m picking on anyone, because last night, as Evil Kev and I continued the Homicide marathon, we were watching an episode that was a crossover with Law & Order. So not just one, but two teams of writers and whatever researchers they employ screwed up.
The storyline? To do with a gas attack on a subway that kills twenty people. The style of attack is similar to an attack on a church five years earlier, in Baltimore, that was never closed.
Through the Homicide episode in particular, Frank Pembleton continues to recall the scene outside the church, the row of bodies, one girl sitting over her father’s body. He mentions the burning in the air as he’s approaching the scene, how he can feel it in his nose etc.
Which is when Evil Kev tells me that would never happen. Why? Death from breathing in poisonous gas would result in quarantine of the bodies – they’d never leave them out there because they would expose others.
And of course, at the end of the episode when the suspect has a heart attack and they try CPR for five seconds and then give up, well, that wouldn’t happen either. Once you start you aren’t supposed to stop until paramedics call it, and cops would know that. Should know that. Even I know that. But, as Evil Kev said, “It’s more dramatic this way.”
This morning, I’m still left wondering if we really were caught between two tornadoes last night.
We certainly had the weather advisory. First it came over Evil Kev’s radio for the fire department. A tornado had touched down in Crossfield and was headed east at 40 km per hour. Confirmed the alert online. Heard it on the ‘real’ radio. Was actually standing outside as the rain came pelting down. We were spared the hail that fell just east of town, though.
Then, heard it on the TV. A second tornado, this one to the south and east of us, heading west.
A lot of things go through a person’s mind when they hear this. The first was get the dogs inside. The second was what else do we do? And you realize there isn’t much you can do. Certainly nothing to stop a tornado if it’s coming. And for all the predictions of where a storm system is moving and what they anticipate, nobody can tame the wind. The one thing you know is the weather system moving through is apparently perfect for creating twisters and you may or may not be sitting in the path of two of them.
This morning, nobody seems to know. Apparently, not enough people saw the tornadoes to confirm they existed and, thankfully, there was no damage directly attributed to tornadoes. Just thunderstorms and hail.
Of course, all during this Evil Kev’s getting ready, in case he has to go out.
Um, remember that post yesterday, about us not having our wills done? And Kevin’s explaining to me the process of dealing with a hazardous goods call as we watch Homicide, and talking about what you do when it’s gas, and then he’s preparing himself in case he needs to go out in a tornado.
I realize now that if Homicide hadn’t made those errors with the episode, I wouldn’t have received an earful about it. And it wouldn’t have reinforced the nature of the risks Evil Kev takes when he responds to a call. But even if I don’t think about them, or he doesn’t talk about them, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t take them.
It certainly is easier to cope, in some respects, by putting your head in the sand and ignoring reality. After all, if I don’t think about the risks, I don’t have to experience the fear, right? But it doesn’t reduce those risks. In some respects, it’s actually a horrid thing to do. You don’t take people for granted when they walk out the door to a call and are ordered to proceed with caution and wait for the police. A part of you is steeling yourself for the potential knock at the door.
Also, how can you really appreciate the enormity of what firefighters/paramedics/police do if you don’t understand the risks on even a basic level? You can’t.
A little piece of wisdom I got from a Christmas cracker:
Without the sorrows of life, the joys would not exist.
One thing I don’t think I mentioned here was that recently I had a bad dream about a tornado outside our house. And in the midst of it arguing with Evil Kev about windows.
Last night, faced with the possibility that there were tornadoes moving through the region, I remembered that the greatest mistake is not taking a bit of creative license with reality to make a story work, or even losing an address, much as that sucks.
The greatest mistake you can make is letting your life slip by. No risk, no rewards. Sure, there’s a chance you fail (and fail spectacularly) but I’ll always give people their due for trying to fulfill their dreams, even if things don’t always pan out the way they hope.