Hello? 9-1-1 Dispatch…
Sometimes we know too much. Too many details about a friend who did a lot of things she shouldn’t have done; too many secrets you’re “never supposed to tell anyone,” too much of what’s going on around the world. And with technology the way it is now, there’s no end to what we can know, whether we want to or not.
Between being snowed in for a week, calving and our Little Lady having influenza for ten days, there was a period this past spring when I hadn’t made it into town for over three weeks. When I finally did, it was kind of a big deal. Our grocery list was as long as my arm, the list for our vet was going to fill what little room I had left in the Suburban and Lizzie hadn’t been to preschool in ages so she was like a box of fireworks ready to explode in the backseat.
After dropping our preschooler off I was making a run for the grocery store when I got a text from Favorite Farmer that read, “Need help now! Come ASAP.” Knowing my better half is much more liable to under-exaggerate situations than overdo them, it didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that something was terribly wrong. I immediately texted back, “Are you hurt? What is going on?” I knew he was out feeding cows by himself and the ice was inches thick with frigid temps so my mind started rolling through all of the terrible scenarios that could possibly be happening. I called and texted several more times but no response. I got really worried and when ten minutes went by, I texted, “Hello!! If you don’t respond in the next five minutes, I’m going to call the Sheriff!!” The text immediately said, “delivered” at the bottom of it so I knew the text had gone through and as long as he was conscious, could read it.
And this is where that knowing too much thing comes into play. If I hadn’t seen that “delivered” tag, I would have chalked it up to bad reception and assumed he was fine, just not getting my messages. But that didn’t happen.
Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice to have too much information but sometimes it just makes things that much more difficult. During the ultrasounds of our impending bundles of joy, we always tried to get all the information we could. Sure, it’s nerve-wracking but between doctors being able to fix so many problems before the baby is even born and knowing the doctors will be fully prepared for any possible issues upon delivery, we wanted everyone to be as well-informed as possible. On the other hand, in a world where videos and pictures can go viral in a matter of seconds, it’s easy to get way too much information on people, places and events around the world that aren’t exactly appropriate for a house full of inquisitive little ears and eyes. I’m not saying we should ignore what’s going on elsewhere because ignorance doesn’t solve anything but there is a time and place for everything and Favorite Farmer and I would rather do things on our own terms than have the kids see things with no discretion whatsoever.
So, when I saw that “delivered” tag and still didn’t get a response, I just knew Favorite Farmer was dying. I called every neighbor I could think of but nobody was home. I ended up calling the sheriff while I bee-lined it for home. The dispatcher told me she would try to make contact with him, whom I assured was pointless because he wasn’t responding to his own wife so good luck with that. It was pretty clear she thought I was crazy but I knew Favorite Farmer would thwart my efforts in involving others if it wasn’t necessary. Five minutes later the dispatcher called to tell me she had made contact. With my heart thumping in fear of what was coming next, she said, “He’s fine; apparently you guys have some cows running down the road and he thought you could get back in time to stop them before they hit the highway.” I did the fastest U-turn in history, and tried to find the breath I’d been holding for the last twenty minutes, irate that I had already done “his” items on my to-do list and now had limited time to do mine.
By the time I got home that day, I acknowledged (only to myself, of course) that I had relied way too much on that word “delivered” and let my emotions run away with it but in a possible life and death situation, what’s a person to do? It’s easy to turn the news off or shut the phone down but when people you love get involved, we do what we think is best with whatever information we have—whether it’s too much or not.
Aside from a few eye rolls and sarcastic comments, I didn’t say much about the incident (nor did he) but when it was printed in the local paper with all the other emergency calls that had recently been made, I couldn’t help but laugh…and make a few more subtle remarks. He insists he didn’t get those messages from me but either way, I’m pretty sure he won’t be sending me texts in that context anytime soon. I’m also pretty sure he knows that even if I had been able to get home in time to help, it’s more likely I would have helped the cows run a little faster than get them stopped.
Mariah is a wife, mom and county Farm Bureau President from Denton. Follow along on her blog; the Kleenex Chronicles.
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