The days that I’m scheduled to cover police and fire events, I listen more closely to the life flowing around me.
Work follows me home.
I listen to sirens passing on the road out by the grocery store, counting them and noting the time. One or two might be cancelled; much more and I’ll probably have to make a few phone calls.
The snow started falling during the evening hurry home and a woman speaking loud beside us at the private school basketball game, she said sirens were blaring and there was two inches of snow and more, falling fast.
She wasn’t talking to me but I filed her words away, a warning for the next morning. Sirens blaring in early-evening snow means a long list of accidents to report on in the morning. I planned to leave early, give myself a few extra minutes before deadline.
Snow fell all evening but stopped by 9 p.m., and the trucks made their way up our street and the roads were passable, if not exactly clear. And despite my best attempts I was not early, and did not have those extra 15 minutes.
The sirens the woman heard were not for wrecks along snowy roads. That was obvious from a glance through the police reports and the list of calls made to fire departments. It wasn’t until I called police to fill in a vague report that I realized they’d been arresting a suspect in a theft at a Walmart quite near to where we were that evening. Those were the sirens she heard. It was a front page story; I wished that somehow I could have guessed, slipped out of that basketball game for a few minutes for those details that make a crime story really worth reading.
I’m not on police this week. Sirens can wail and I won’t notice, not really. Women can chatter about the state of the roads and potential accidents all night long and I won’t listen. These little things are someone else’s responsiblity these days.
These days that I don’t cover police? Work stays right where it should.