Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Obsessions: The downside of working at home
I'm not a music person, but I like to have some kind of background noise when I'm working. I used to keep the TV on, but that became too distracting. So one day when I was browsing for online streams, I stumbled across the local police channel. I could actually listen to every back-and-forth between the dispatcher, police, and emergency units.
A new distraction--make that an obsession--was born. It took me a few days to decipher the codes and garbled transmissions, but I finally got the hang of the official communications. We live a few blocks away from the fire station, and we hear sirens several times a day. I used to pay them little attention. Now I'm like a duck on a June bug, hitting that police stream to find out what's going on in my little town.
And I have to say, it's been a bit unnerving. It's not reassuring to learn that your local PD is on the lookout for an armed and dangerous thug who just escaped a police perimeter in a neighboring town. Or that the gas station at the bottom of the hill was just robbed by a masked bandit who has been attacking places all over the area.
My husband, who also works at home but who has a structured, self-disciplined routine, recently gave me a strange look when I peered fearfully out the window.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Looking for a silver Honda, driven by 5-foot nine guy who is possibly Asian," I reply. "He robbed the Chevron station. He has a gun, nine millimeter. "
My husband has learned not to probe my odd statements too deeply. I think he attributes my eccentricities to the fact that I'm a writer.
And truthfully, I rationalize many of my quirks as being a byproduct of a creative mind. For example, I figure I have to learn how cops really talk, so that helps me justify listening to the emergency channel for hours on end.
The reality is, I should probably get out of the house more. When I had a day job, I didn't indulge my obsessions nearly so much. I simply didn't have time. Maybe I should volunteer, do something useful. But I'd probably volunteer for something related to one of my obsessions, like becoming a Neighborhood Watch captain. Do they get to talk on the police radio, do you suppose?
But enough about my obsessions. Do you have any you can share?