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Taking a risk, exposing myself
Taking a risk, exposing myself
I will have 2 posts back to back, assuming I have the energy after finishing this one. It's a rarity these days for me to have so much to say, but I actually feel like sharing it. I've been careful not to reveal too much about myself as I post. Personal information-wise, that is. I seem to have no problem talking about my feelings, fears and annoyances, but I've held back up to now. But I won't anymore. I think I've been afraid that somebody I know, or knew, would recognize me by my posts or profile.
Why should I care? What do I have to be embarrassed about? I am doing nothing illegal, or really immoral. I'm an adult and I can do whatever I want. I want to care less about what people think of me, and want to care more about what I think of myself.
I had a minor epiphany just minutes ago as went to make a cup of tea. I went to get a mug, and in the cabinet was my CIA mug. I have never used it, it has been merely decoration for years. But when I moved out of my house, it got mixed in with the regular mugs, so I decided to drink from it. It's a beautiful dark midnight blue, cracked-marble mug with the CIA seal engraved on the front. It probably cost $40 or so in the gift shop. I remember how I obtained it.
It was a very slow night on the midnight shift. I was parked in my squad car at the entrance to an apartment complex, facing the street. Not running radar, just sitting and reading in a visible spot, centrally located in the event I received a call for service. I saw a yellow Corvette enter the apartment complex, and took notice of it. Several minutes later, it exited, and the driver maneuvered his car to place his driver's window facing mine. He rolled down his window and held up a small box.
"I've got something for you," he said.
I became immediately suspicious and unfastened the top snap of my holster.
"What is it, a bomb?" I asked him.
"No, just take it." he said. So I did. I opened the box and inside was the CIA mug. Turns out, the guy was retired CIA, was staying with his mother in town for the week, and just happened to have an extra mug in his 'Vette with him. He saw me all alone, and gave a cool gift to his law-enforcement cousin. I have a weird quirk where things I really cherish I never open, or rarely use. When eating, I always save the best for last, etc. So I've never used the mug. Until tonight.
The point of the story isn't that I used this mug for the first time. The thing is porcelain and the design is etched on. It will last forever if I don't drop it. The point is, I just let anyone who reads this know what I do for a living. I'm a police officer.
But for sake of my own personal safety, I won't say where I work or give too many specific details about what happens at work. Last thing I need is some criminal hacking this, finding out who I am and where I live and whacking me. Ladies, just ask permission and you may whack me. I know I'm being paranoid, but it's kind of a requirement in my profession if I want to stay alive.
I realize there is some slim chance someone who knows me may now recognize me by putting the pieces of what I say and what I do together. But I must accept the fact that I am not Batman, and my identity does not need to remain secret to those who already know me.
Why is it such a big deal to me? I'm not sure. Maybe because so many people have a negative view of what we do. Because I don't want to be judged because my profession. It's what I do, it doesn't define who I am. Firefighters get all the glory because they save lives in an active role. My life-saving is much more passive. By doing A and B, I prevented tragedy because point Z was never able to happen. I like to think I'm one of the more public-friendly cops out there. I give very few tickets, give lots of opportunity for people to give me a good excuse, but never give the truly bad guys a break. I care for my uniform and overall appearance and demeanor, and strive to project good command presence. I'm patient and calm, and never lose my temper on duty. I've never lost a foot pursuit and never will (I'm really fast!) In fact, chasing bad guys is the main reason I got into this profession.
So enough about it. Judge me if you wish. Call me a pig. Call me a donut-eating radar jockey. Call me a racial-profiling, civil rights violating puppet of the government. But will you call me when you're being robbed at gunpoint and expect me to step in the line of fire for you, a total stranger?
I will. It's what I signed up to do. I enjoy being appreciated, but I don't expect it.
11/18/2005 2:05 am
I have several friends in the field of law enforcement. I can tell you that there are many people, like me, who do appreciate the work you do. We appreciate the fact that you have chosen a line of work that could get you injured or killed, just to protect us citizens from the "truly bad guys". So, thank you Owlwatcher for doing your thankless job.|