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10 April 2005 @ 01:40 am
The Parking Lot Seems to be on Fire and Other Stories.  
The universe does not appreciate it when I work weekends. At first, I thought it was just Sundays upon which I was particularly cursed--it's actually a running joke at my store that if I'm in on Sunday, the police will end up involved, somehow. The first Sunday I worked, I watched two men on our security cameras swiping dozens of DVDs quite efficiently from our porn room--the police arrived less than a minute after they strolled out and drove away. The next Sunday I ended up working, I saw a nasty road rage incident involving the driver of the car in front of me being punched repeatedly in the face by the driver of the car ahead of him... I felt obliged to call the police once more.

Now, I normally work on Saturday nights. It's our busiest shift of the week, so it makes sense that the assistant manager and I man the store together, usually with at least one other person. I showed up for work this afternoon with no idea that I would be chatting with the 911 dispatcher again. That is, after all, a Sunday sort of thing.

Not five minutes after I arrived, a customer who had just left scared the bejesus out of me by pounding on the glass by the exit door and screaming something panicky. I rushed over to open the door to hear what the hell she was yelling about and noticed smoke billowing across the parking lot. Hmm, I thought. That's not... usual. At first, the customer and I thought it was coming from one of the cars, but we soon determined that a shrubbery was aflame. A shrubbery. In one of the little median island-type things in the lot. Was on fire. For no reason. In the middle of a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Now, the fire couldn't really go anywhere. It was surrounded by cement, and no one was even parked anywhere vaguely nearby. It's difficult to see why that really constitutes an emergency, per se, but it's not like the fire department has a special number you can call just for stupid fires. Maybe it should. I felt an acute need for such a phone number today, someone I could call and just say, "Hey, if you guys have nothing to do, no people to save, maybe you want to swing by and put out this bush that's burning in our parking lot, get a little fresh air, whatever. No rush."

Of course, I ended up talking to a 911 dispatcher yet again. The conversation went like this*:

Dispatch: 911, what is your emergency?
Me: Um, I'm calling to report a fire. A little fire, it's not really... big.
D: And where is the fire, what is your location? Is it where you are calling from?
Me: No, it's outside in the parking lot at (location). It's a bush.
D: I'm sorry?
Me: It's a bush, a bush is on fire. Out in the parking lot. I don't know why.

At this point, I saw two of the strapping Italian fellows from the pizza joint next door walking across the parking lot, still in their aprons, with buckets of water. A random guy pulled his pickup truck over by the fire, too, and got out, eyeing it up.

Me: Um, some guys are trying to put it out.
D: They're putting it out?
Me: Yeah, a couple of them have buckets of water, and one guy... is using mulch.
D: Mulch?
Me: Yeah, he's... well, he is picking up handfuls of mulch and sort of... dumping them on the bush. It's really kind of... stupid. The mulch is catching fire, now, and kinda... falling all over the place.
D: Is the fire getting bigger?
Me: Sort of, but now some guys are stamping out the mulch and pouring the water... yes, that appears to be working.

Here is where I start laughing, and the dispatcher follows suit as we talk.

Me: I'm thinking this is probably really not any kind of emergency, and I am sorry I called. Very, very sorry. I hate to think that this is tying up emergency resources. I think the pizza guys have put it out.
D: The pizza guys?
Me: They had the buckets of water, and they stopped that moron--excuse me, concerned bystander--from trying to 'smother' it with mulch. Should I just hang up now?

My employee is leaning against the counter for support and tears are actually running down her face from laughing so hard. The dispatcher, still laughing with (at?) me, took my information and ended the call.

It was about five minutes before the firemen arrived. The impromptu pizza firefighting unit had gone back inside, and the mulch moron had also left, shamed. No fire was to be had, but I watched them carefully unroll the hose, thoroughly spray down the already-sodden area, then roll their hose back up again. I know at least one of them was laughing.

We all spent some time speculating, this evening, as to what could have caused the fire to start in the first place. Most likely, we think, it was an errant cigarette or something. But it occurs to me that perhaps the whole burning bush thing is not the way Jehovah should go about manifesting, should he decide to do so.

At least, not in my parking lot.

*Trust me when I say this is almost verbatim, because I had to listen to one of my employees tell the story again and again and again, portraying me on the telephone.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: "Metro," System of a Down
I Dream of the Silk That Is Tangled Inside You: chicks rockvaspider on April 10th, 2005 06:54 am (UTC)
You have been metaquotes'd.
la renarde: ginny omgpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 08:54 am (UTC)


Thanks. I didn't even know the community existed!
(no subject) - poor_huni on April 10th, 2005 09:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
PS - poor_huni on April 10th, 2005 09:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: PS - pouringsand on April 10th, 2005 09:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pouringsand on April 10th, 2005 09:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vaspider on April 10th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Melaniemelaniedavidson on April 10th, 2005 07:12 am (UTC)
...That was wonderful.
la renarde: monkey effigypouringsand on April 10th, 2005 08:55 am (UTC)
That's very kind of you, thanks. :)
hemlock_martinihemlock_martini on April 10th, 2005 07:13 am (UTC)
The good news is, you may have just saved the next Moses from wandering the desert for 40 years. The bad news is that God might consider this to be a case of mail fraud.
la renarde: donkpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 08:57 am (UTC)
Just my luck... :)
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on April 10th, 2005 07:13 am (UTC)
Here via metaquotes. My irritated lungs do not appreciate the laughter that you have caused, but I so needed that.
la renarde: penitentpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 08:59 am (UTC)
Sorry about your unhappy lungs! (Though thanks for letting me know I made you laugh. :)
(no subject) - azurelunatic on April 11th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pouringsand on April 12th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
anranr on April 10th, 2005 07:58 am (UTC)
LOL! Thank you: I need a good laugh. :)
la renarde: tingpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 09:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed.
Colindocfilth on April 10th, 2005 07:59 am (UTC)
Here via Metaquotes. Reading that was the best hangover cure in ages.
la renarde: cuppapouringsand on April 10th, 2005 09:01 am (UTC)
Damn, that's some mighty high praise! ;D Thank you!
angie_palaceangie_palace on April 10th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
Ohmigod, ROFLMAO! A friend of mine sent me this link in YM and I'm so glad she did! It's great! I'll bet you made the 911 operator's day with that, and from the way the firemen reacted I'll bet they got the story verbatim. [snicker] Thanks so much for posting this!

la renarde: capitalpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
You're very welcome, thanks so much for such kind words! The dispatcher certainly did have a good laugh on the phone with me, and the firemen did seem amused.

I'm just afraid eventually there will be a file on me and my neverending stream of 911 calls somewhere if I keep working weekends... :)
(no subject) - lightandashes on April 10th, 2005 09:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Wilflots42 on April 10th, 2005 10:19 am (UTC)
Back when I had my own 'stupid' fire, I thought hey, the police non emergency number might work.

I expected the non er number to be staffed by someone competent who could tell the fire department 'Hey, there was this stupid fire but it's under control, can you have some guys stroll out just in case?'

But no...

The lady at the other end could not grasp the concept that (A) small cities have BORDERs and (B) sometimes roads cross said borders. This was just too much for her little brain. I think I actually heard nuerons in her head exploding from the stress.

Finally she was able to put together 'Fire' and 'Fire department'. I talked with a new person and a fire engine roared out and took care of the now sodden clump of ground.
la renarde: mafia shelleypouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC)
Hee hee hee! Good idea, the police non-emergency line... except it does seem it proved vexing for you anyway. :) The fire department needs a similar line, I am now convinced.
Blue: baby bluehobbitblue on April 10th, 2005 10:30 am (UTC)
*dies laughing* I'm over from metaquotes too, and thanks for that, always good to start the day with a giggle or two :)
la renarde: capitalpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
Ardath Rekhaardath_rekha on April 10th, 2005 11:15 am (UTC)
LOL! Loved it. Here via Metaquotes too... and definitely adding this one to my "memories." Is it alright if I friend you?

And yes... Jehovah really needs to look into using candygrams from now on or something.
la renarde: fate baked me a tasty cakepouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
Absolutely, thank you! And yes, candygrams sound like an excellent alternative to me, too. XD
Vicissist: smirknehima on April 10th, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
That was a fantastic story. The best part was that it's true. hehe.

I totally missed the burning bush reference until you mentioned it at the end. Go me. :S
la renarde: capitalpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Lanna Michaelslannamichaels on April 10th, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC)
*sporfle* That's great. Yeah, 911 should totally have a number for stupid emergencies. :D
captainsblogcaptainsblog on April 10th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC)
911 should totally have a number for stupid emergencies.

They do. It's elevendy-one-one.

Doesn't get a lot of calls, though....

And great story in the first place, btw, although about 300 metaquotes people beat me to the Knights Who Say Ni part;)
(no subject) - pouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
darksky23darksky23 on April 10th, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC)
Also here through metaquotes. That's the greatest story ever. *laughs*

I did the same thing once while I was driving - there was a small fire on the side of the road, so I called 911 and told the operator, and then I added, "I think there's two guys standing outside their truck. I'm not sure if they're trying to stop the fire or help it. Either way, I don't think the plants should be on fire like that."

*snicker* Awesome. May I friend you?
la renarde: skellbravo by crushingiconspouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC)
Excellent! A kindred spirit re: random shrub fires! XD Of course you may, and thank you.
voodoo childrowenablue on April 10th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)
here from metaquotes as well..and friending you if you don't mind. nice journal.
la renarde: capitalpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)
I don't mind a bit, and thank you! :)
Deggyghostly_watcher on April 10th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)
Also here from metaquotes. That really made my day.
Something similar happened to me once- a school I was driving by had a desklamp (I kid you not) on fire on the sidewalk. To this day, the school has no idea how it could have gotten there, or if it had blown a fuse or something (even though it wasn't plugged in).

But really, that was the most hysterical post ever. May I friend you?
la renarde: ginny omgpouringsand on April 10th, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC)
Wow... a desklamp is even more random! O_O Of course you may friend me, and thank you so much for the kind words. :)