Saturday, April 03, 2004

I worked for MCT today for the first time in a looong time. MCT is a job I've had in one form or another for 10 years - the longest I've done pretty much anything. It's a job where I drive around in a city car with a police radio and get dispatched to any police call that has some mental health component. I do evaluations for involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, grief and trauma counseling, talk to psychotic people, give referrals and basically try to solve problems until tomorrow (or until 4pm when I'm off).

Today we had a guy whose friend called the police and said he was suicidal and had a gun. Upon interview with me and the police, it appeared he was neither suicidal nor did he have a gun. I think he liked the attention because he kept making up stories about where the gun was ("It's under the bed! No, it's in the closet!") and kept asking one of the officers if he wanted to frisk him.

The other call was a mom who got shoved down by her adult son who is a disrespectful bratty pot-head. It's about time she laid down the law, if you ask me.

In between calls, I go get frozen yogurt, run errands, or whatever. (I found some cheap kid's books at Tuesday Morning that A. showed no interest in). I love the job because there's so much freedom and talking to psychotic people can be really fascinating and moving. But it's also a burnout because we get put in lots of situations that we can't fix, and we also end up stuck between the police and the citizens sometimes. I can't tell you how often I've been talking to some homeless crazy guy and some idiot with a video camera is taping my every move, and another idiot is screaming at us about violating this poor soul's rights. They want to know every detail and exactly why we are harassing this guy. Naturally, they shut up when I suggest that perhaps this poor guy doesn't want his privacy violated and that maybe they should get his permission before they videotape him.

One time, we were in the Post Office trying to talk to a terrified young woman who appeared to be on some mind-altering substance. She was crouched in the corner of the PO boxes screaming that she was dying. Four police officers were standing around her, and me, trying to calm her down. Some idiot lady refused to leave the area because she "had a right to be there as a witness." She wanted to know why we needed 4 officers for this poor girl, and what they were going to do to her. I tried to explain that the more officers there are, the safer the subject because less force needs to be used (except in LA, maybe - the dept. I work with is very careful and respectful - in 10 years I've never seen anything questionable). But she didn't want to hear that - she really didn't want an explanation at all, she just wanted to complain. The bigger problem was that her presence was setting this girl off for some reason and she still wouldn't leave, insisting that the girl didn't even know she was there and that whatever "Devil Woman" this girl was yelling about wasn't her. It was kind of funny, actually - the girl, in all her crazy yelling, had some awareness of what was going on because she finally ended up yelling, "That lady in the orange hat! She's the devil!" So we all turned and just looked at this woman, who tilted her nose up in the air and finally left. Now, I'm all for concerned citizens, but JFC, stay the hell out of my way! Yeah, that's why I only sub now. BTW, the girl ended up at the hospital having smoked too much crack - given to her by her father. Nice.

Rant over. Really didn't mean it to turn into all that, but it's a fun job for the most part. Just don't get me started on city politics.

Oh! Two cool things today - was leaving a call and a van advertising a popular endurance-bar drove up. Apparently the founder (I recognized him from interviews in the paper) and his buddies were at a biking event in Santa Rosa, and one of them lived next door. They were very friendly and asked if we wanted any of these bars left over from the event. So I got a chocolate chip one and a fudge-almond one for free! I was a bit cranky because I'd been dispatched to the call before getting a chance to grab lunch, and here it is! Way to manifest, universe!

Second cool thing: I wanted to return to a Thai restaurant that I'd been to one evening shift when I was working MCT with an intern a few months ago. Problem was, I couldn't remember the name of the place or where it was. All I remembered was that they had cool placemats where fruits were carved into animals. The intern I'd eaten there with worked tonight, so at shift change I asked her where/what it was, and she couldn't remember either. Grrrr. So G and I were walking along, fully intending to go to a new but untried Indian place, and happened to walk by a Thai restaurant - there must be 50 in this city - it's hard not to walk by one. I poked my head in, looked at the tables, and Voila! Fruity animals! That was it! I never would have recognized it if we hadn't been walking by. So we had a very yummy yellow curry and chicken satay dinner. G said it was the best curry he'd ever had. How is that for luck? I really should go buy a lottery ticket tonight.


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