Saturday, September 15, 2012

Just a moment of your time.

The other night, I worked a little later than normal and as I sat in my cruiser, watching the few cars out that late at night pass my spot, I thought to myself (ok, for those of us who work long hours alone, you know I said this out loud) "this is when the good stuff happens, when you least expect it" and when you "just happen to be there."

Sure enough, minutes later, I was dispatched to a medical call, a woman in labor. On arrival, the paramedic and I found the woman, at full term, with contractions a couple of minutes apart. As the paramedic started a line and got a monitor attached, I took the pertinent history and information from the woman and her mother.

We worked quickly and when the ambulance arrived (it was a volunteer rig, the paramedic comes from the local hospital and meets the bus at the scene- assembling the ambulance crew takes a few minutes), we packaged the woman. Neither of us wanted to deliver a baby that night!

It reminded me of the many times I watched traffic from the same spot and tagged drunk drivers, suspended drivers and other traffic stops that led to possession arrests and cites for suspended licenses, all because they ran the red light and someone was there.

Because I was there.

My jurisdiction is small but there are several places that need watching. I can't be in all the locations at the same time, so I rotate where and when I am in a location, trying to spread my "presence" throughout the community. So the odds that I am working a specific night, at a specific time and location are low.

As I edited the piece, I thought about the short story I released (ok, if you follow the blog, you know the I is a bit relative) a couple of weeks ago. In the story, Morris, Rog's longtime friend and sometimes partner, is off-duty and enjoying a coffee and donut at the local MagicDonut, when he hears a traffic accident. Instinct kicks in and he finds himself trying to save the life of a girl.

In my fictional world, Morris just happens to be there. In my real world, a lot of what I do is because I happen to be there. In that moment. When you're in that moment, you react, you do or it passes you by. But I find myself "In that moment," very frequently.

I realize I picked the busiest intersection in my jurisdiction for my example and I realize there's always going to be someone trying to get away with something (yeah, I've been a cop for a while) but if an officer wasn't there, I wonder what would happen to the drunk or the driver with no brake lights or any of the stops I've made. I'm not patting myself on the back, I'm thinking about how each moment affects the next.

If the cop doesn't arrest the DUI driver, does the driver go on to kill someone? That one moment in time, the arrest of the driver changes everything or does it? If Morris isn't eating a donut at that place and time, does someone else step up to help the girl? Does the moment change?

If the girl lives, her whole life, her every interaction affects the world and every moment thereafter. If she dies, the world changes, to the same scale but in a different way.

How about in your life? What was that moment you stepped in and changed the next moment and every moment after it?

You can read the story, "Thirty and Two," free. The link's below, along with one to "In Another Life." It's a chance to meet Morris, spend a few moments in his life and see how those few moments led to other moments and a lifetime.

The Latin phrase, carpe diem, has been translated as "Seize the day." I prefer "Carpe momentum temporis,"- "Seize the moment in time." (I hope I have that right. Miranda just started Latin and was of no help! "Dad, really?" she said, her voice placing me firmly in my place).

Change the world, one moment at a time. You're in a moment right now. How will what you do in this moment change the next moment and every one after that?

It's your life and your moments. Carpe momentum temporis. Make a difference.

* Banner reprinted by permission of the American Library Association

Book 'em, Morris!

If you haven't already done so, click on the title for a free copy of Thirty and Two,  and a sample of  In Another Life! 

And after you finish the sample, don't forget to buy a copy of In Another Life!

Thanks to one of my reviewers, known only as "Ketchup," who said, "I like the short chapters!" I was thrilled by the positive response until he said, "It's great bathroom reading. Just the right length." Hey, I'll take any positives I can get!

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