Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sheer Lunacy

There is a belief that the full moon brings out the madness in people. Lunacy is a term derived from  the Latin for  moon, luna so the connection between madness and the state of the moon has been established for a good long while. I read a modern discussion about the apparent connection between the moon and madness and the author suggested people may act crazy on well illuminated nights simply because the night on those occasions is not dark. It's not the moon, but it's the quantity of light reflected from the moon that makes people act up.
I resist these folk tales and fanciful explanations for the mundane but there is no doubt lunacy has been sweeping the nighttime streets of Key West. One character was wide awake the other night, a name well known t night shift police as he has a habit of going off the rails. The other night Manish was so far off the reservation he managed to take our breath away in dispatch, a place where we tend to hear the weirdest things about our neighbors.
Nick took the first call with a sigh and listened to a long outpouring of invective as Manish accused officers of violating his home. Then he hung up. Then again he called back and I took the call. He  screeched at me, blaming me for the violation of his home. He called me an eight dollar an hour monkey and threatened to rape me. He kept screaming "faggot" at both Nick and I as the night progressed. I found myself wondering what was really going on in his derangement as his anger on those occasions when the demons take over always expresses itself in love of money and hatred for gays.
Far be it for me to diagnose the madness but listening to him describe in painful detail how he plans to rape me with his giant penis is not a cause for alarm as this sort of thing happens all the time when callers are scared and angry and feel helpless. I wish there was more we could do than try to simply tamp down the symptoms, but in he end he is so insistent with his calls every couple of minutes we send officers to try to convince him to stop. Their visit helps inasmuch as the threats diminish and his calls become please for help. That leaves you wondering what on earth you can do for him. Eventually he sips off into sleep and the phone calls  stop. Normal service resumes in the 911 center. For us its a victory if we can juggle his screams for help while continuing the business of sending help to those who need it.
The full moon will be back soon enough but for now the nights will slowly be getting darker and I hope Manish's mind will be getting lighter. I find my early morning walks with Rusty are the perfect antidote to listening to the various streams of invective all night long. Just like Rusty shown above shaking off excess water from his fur, I shake off the night's madness.
I was pondering the weirdness of full moon nights, he domestic squabbles, the drunkenness and the general lack of civility when a job seeker was asking me about my job. That's when the nutty nature of my work strikes home. I am forced to confront the fact most people don't deal with this stuff when they go to work. Most people shuffle paper and deal with annoying people in the ordinary  way at their jobs while my colleagues and I sit there and wait for the deluge of nonsense to flood over us. The candidate thought better of it and is I believe applying for a more sensible, if less well paid job.
I don't think I could go back to a  nine to five Monday through Friday job. I am so used to what I do when I show up  that dealing with Manish and his madness or the guy who calls at random blurting out anti-Cuba  slogans is just part of  the night's work. I wouldn't mind if the full moon didn't concentrate so many of them into just a few nights each month bu a hectic pace makes the night go by. I'm coming up on fifteen years of answering 911 in Key West and the thought has only just occurred to me that this is not a normal job. There again I ask myself, what is?
And no one else has Rusty there to help them keep their feet on the ground.