Thursday, September 08, 2005

9/8/05

6:39 a.m. I wake up this morning to the lady next door calling for her cat. Her voice is raspy and harsh and sounds like she's been chain-smoking for the past 50 years or so. "Here, kiiiiiiitty, kiiiiiiiitty! Here, kiiiiiiitty, kiiiiiiitty!" It's 4am. Who calls for their cat at 4am? Who calls for their cat at all?

I cover my head with my pillow in order to either muffle the sound or pass out from lack of oxygen. Either one is okay by me at this point. After 20 minutes of, "Here, kiiiiiiitty, kiiiiiiiitty!", I give up and kick the covers off as I get out of bed. I feel like yelling out the window that kitty won't be coming home anymore because I ate it for dinner last night.

As I walk toward the kitchen to put on a pot of water for tea, I feel rather smug that I am not tripping over piles of laundry. My house is clean. The refrigerator is full. I haven't killed a plant in a record two weeks. Hell has officially frozen over.

Today I'm doing an interview with a hostile Subject. He gave one of my investigators such a hard time over the phone that Corporate asked me to take over the case. I'm sort of afraid of what awaits me when this guy opens the door. His injuries include: head, neck, left arm, left leg, left hip, hands, left shoulder, and right eye. That's got to suck. Was he run over by a steamroller or something?

After getting dressed in business attire, I drive around for no less than 45 minutes trying to find gas under $3.00/gallon. Finally, I find a station selling for $2.98. I am aware that I probably blew all of my gas savings driving around looking for cheaper gas. It's the principle of the thing.

I am currently in line waiting to fill my tank. I'm five cars back and this will probably take a while. Fortunately, I have food provisions (a Kit Kat bar and Diet Pepsi) and a pee bucket. I feel smug yet again as I watch the other drivers who can't eat or pee at will.

I wonder if this was what it was like during the gas shortages in the '70's? I would seriously consider investing in a bicycle except that I'm afraid it might be hard to remain discrete when I pull out the camera. "Uh, lady...I know you keep telling me I can't see you, but I'm pretty sure you're sitting on a bike and videotaping me..."

This afternoon I get a physical and a drug test for my new job as a death investigator. My official title is Deputy Medical Examiner. I should pass the test with flying colors so long as caffeine remains a legal drug. I remember back a couple of years ago I had this crazy idea that I would go off caffeine for a couple of days. I found that I really missed the heart palpitations and the shaky hands.

Today I am going to see if I might be able to help with the forensics recovery after Katrina. I am sure it will be difficult to identify the dead after ten days and I imagine federal and local workers are going to need all the assistance they can get. It's not the most positive contribution, but it is what I know. There is an emergency response organization of forensics professionals called M.O.R.T. that responds to human disasters such as this. I was asked to join them several years ago, I just never got around to it at the time. I plan to contact them and see if they are still in need of volunteers.

20 comments:

Jeff Meyerson said...

I feel smug yet again as I watch the other drivers who can't eat or pee at will.

A classic line, Polly!

And it's good that you have a useful skill (even if an 'icky' one) that could be used to help the hurricane aftermath. So many of us feel helpless far from the scene. Somehow, just giving money seems inadequate.

Slyeyes said...

Polly, I think it's a very positive contribution. It's not everyone willing/able to handle that and it's a highly necessary task.

Higgy said...

Polly - let me just echo everyone here - I think anything you can do hands-on is great. Giving money does feel empty at times.

Susan said...

*imagining Polly investigating on a bike*

I guess that would make using the pee bucket a little more difficult, too.

And I applaud you for being willing and able to help out down south.

Slyeyes said...

Polly investigating on a bike would be a lot like Snake on a Vespa with raincoat flapping.

Olga said...

I agree. If you're willing to help, then go for it. It's a necessary job, and I'm sure the ME's down south will appreciate the help.
I have the same feeling I had when the tsunami hit in December. Uselessness. I edit a writer who lives in Columbo, Sri Lanka (she and her family are fine) so that also hit close to home.

Polly investigating on a bike...how would you ever get through the drive-throughs at fast food places? I don't think you'd be heavy enough to trip the sensor (and we know that from experience...)

punky said...

Ooh ... snake on a vespa with a raincoat flapping ...

Oh wait ... I was picturing cbol ... nevermind.

You were saying ???

Kafaleni said...

*picturing Cbol*

Hmm... oh... what? I'm supposed to say something?

*wipes away drool from chin*

Ahem... Polly, they need people to do what you can do. Your willingness to do it speaks volumes about the amazing person you are (which we all knew, but now NOLA will know as well...)

Kafaleni said...

Oh, and BTW.. 4am? Call your cat once. If it doesn't turn up the neighbour's dog probably ate it. You should go back to bed and arrange an appropriate burial for the leftover furry bits in the morning.

Mike Weasel said...

Yeah, that's weird. I mean, 4 am, call it softly, look around for a bit, but if you don't find it, wait til a decent hour for a more thorough check. Sheesh!

punky said...

Your neighbor is a fool. I recommend you walk over to her house, knock on her door, hand her a can of tuna and say ...

"Next time use this."

insomniac said...

investigate on a unicycle, then you'd have a reason for staying in the same place.

Polly P.I. said...

I'll just walk over and hand her the receiver for the tracking device that I implanted in Fluffy's arse.

Sometimes it's good to have PI toys...

punky said...

you chould sell those things to suburban housewives, Polly ...

think of all the money you would make?

they could pretend that they were getting adventurous in the bedroom ... stick the little tracker up their husband's bums ... and then sit around all day eating bon bons and tracking their husbands whereabouts.

bleep bleep bleep

chew chew swallow

bleep bleep bleep

Stephen Blackmoore said...

and then sit around all day eating bon bons and tracking their husbands whereabouts

Hmm. Not sure that would work out so well.

"According to this he went to the bathroom in the morning and stayed there all day."

Tamara said...

Stephen: *snork!*

punky said...

LMAO ... yeah ... didn't really think it through that far. :)

Too funny.

Polly P.I. said...

hehe

That does pose a bit of a problem, Stephen...

thor said...

"...left arm, left leg, left hip, hands, left shoulder, and right eye."

Maybe a steamroller took care of the left half...but what about the right eye? Afterward, the driver jumped off the steamroller and poked him with a needle? Just to seal the deal?

Seems a little random...

Oh, and thanks for making me laugh out loud several times...first for the kitty call and also for the pee bucket line and the visual of bike surveilance.

motw said...

I remember screaming for our cat when hurricane Hugo was going to slam us. He was a stray we had befriended and he was not real close to people. After twenty minutes, he finally shot up the apartment stairs. But it was not 4am, and I don't smoke or have a raspy voice. (That was the first time he'd ever been inside our apartment and he had to spend the night. We bonded during Hugo.)

Bravo, Polly, for being willing to offer your special talent to serve people in desparate need. Not to be macabre, but think of the closure you'll be able to provide.