I had an appointment with one of my guys yesterday and he got me to thinking. Thinking about another guy I used to supervise on probation.
My name, address and phone number used to be in the phone book. Long ago and far away, it was department policy that we be accessible like that, in case of an emergency. It's been about eight years since that policy was abolished. I didn't have a problem with it at the time, but looking back on it, I realize what a stupid policy it was.
I lived alone for all the years that the policy had been enforced and I had my fair share of late night phone calls from suicidal senior citizens, pissed off wives, and the occasional soon-to-be-father wondering if he could break his curfew to drive his wife to the hospital. But I seldom ever had an obscene phone call.
The first such call I ever got was - I think - totally random. Somebody was just dialing numbers and hoping to get lucky. The call came at seven o'clock in the morning, which I thought was a rather odd time for that sort of activity. The caller launched into his prepared remarks. When he paused for breath, I said, "Oh come on, now. Surely you can do better than that. " He was quiet for a couple of beats, then hung up the phone.
There was only one obscene call that I ever got from one of my probationers. This one was at two o'clock on a Sunday morning. Now, at 7:00 a.m., following a good night's sleep, I am awake and in control of enough of my faculties to handle unsolicited phone sex. Not so at 2:00 a.m.
Wakened from a deep sleep in the middle of the night makes me just stupid. Seriously so. Late night phone calls from friends and potential friends have occasionally been a source of embarrassment due to the fact that I have no idea what the hell I'm saying. I couldn't tell you my name and get it right.
So, when I answered the phone, I had no idea what was going on. I guess I wasn't very coherent because the guy asked twice to speak to Rachel. I managed to convince both of us that was me. He was real polite about it.
Once assured he had the right person, he launched into a laundry list of proposed future activities. I was still wiping slobber off my chin and wondering if I really was this Rachel person. He went on for several minutes it seemed, while I tried to kick start my brain.
The light finally turned on in my head and I recognized his voice.
"Joe! Have you been drinking?"
He must have been really drunk, because he said, "Uh....yes ma'am."
I told you he was real polite. I couldn't really think of any thing productive to contribute to the conversation at that point, so I said: "Well, cut it out! And be in my office at 8:00 a.m. on Monday!"
He sighed and said ok before I hung up the phone.
When Monday morning rolled around, I was laughing about this story with my co-workers. It was a few minutes before eight o'clock and the boss had arrived just in time to hear the last of my story. She said something along the lines of "He did WHAT?!"
Diane was the boss.
When I was in college, I intended to pursue a career in federal law enforcement. However, I discovered the feds didn't have much of a sense of humor, so I thought I might be interested in local law enforcement. I did an internship with the city police department. Promptly upon completion of said internship, I went to the probation department and turned in a job application.
After meeting Diane, I knew this is where I wanted to work.
Diane was tall, tough and smart as hell. She still is, actually, even though she's been retired for years. I want to be her when I grow up. She was an excellent motivator and could convince all of us drink the kool-aid if she'd wanted to. In addition to all that she was a mother to two grown sons.
When she said "He did WHAT?!" she used her mom voice. And it was scary.
Joe arrived, expecting to see me. He met with Diane instead.
And then he went to prison.
I miss Diane.