Yesterday afternoon, our street was a-blazin'. Literally. Another mom had just arrived to pick up her son. She pulled up in front of our house- OK, in front of the hydrant, in front of our house - and started getting her son ready to leave.
Suddenly, we heard sirens. They seemed to be getting closer. And then closer still. We joked that she'd better move her car....Ha ha, hydrant humour....
Next thing we knew, there were 5 firetrucks, an ambulance and a handful of cop cars. Our friend was gone like the wind. I, along with the rest of the street, ran outside to check it all out. Massive black smoke clouds billowed out of the house two doors west. Its elderly occupants were outside, watching it burn. A firefighter staggered out of the house, was ushered to a chair and stripped of his equipment. He left in an ambulance son after.
This 'hood hasn't seen so much excitement since, well, ever. The crowds gathered. My phone was ringing - concerned friends and neighbours wanted to make sure it wasn't our house (not that I could've answered if it was - but sentiments were very much appreciated nonetheless).
The entire street was closed off in both directions, so a friend had to ferry my oldest son home, and I had to walk him back from the corner of the road. As we walked passed the house, he asked me what was happening. Having no clue, I stopped to ask a trio of police officers for the scoop.
Let me be clear: the firefighting element of the scene seemed to be over, or at least well under control. There were no flames, no smoke. A lot of official-looking folks from police, fire, and EMS were chatting. As were the neighbours. In other words, we were not interfering.
So we approach the coppers and ask one of them, a lady in gender only as it turned out, what was happening. She looked at me and my 6 year old son and deadpanned "A plane flew into the house".
I looked at her. She stared back. I replied, calmly, "well, we know that's not true, is it?" The other officer told us they were waiting for the smoke to clear and an inspection would follow. Blah blah blah - officialspeak for "no clue".
As we walked home my son turned to me, fear in his eyes, and asked "did a plane REALLY fly into that house, Mommy?" And thus it began. I had to explain that the policewoman was, well, what WAS she doing? Making a joke? Scaring a child? Being a bitch?
The rebuttals came fast and quick - in my mind. I was tempted to go outside and tell her off. Report her to her superiors. Revoke her badge! Who tells a little kid something so stupid? And what if we were somehow affected personally by 9/11? The what-ifs were endless. As were my come-backs. If only I had the guts to use them. In time.
Needless to say, vigilante justice was not to be had. Or even contemplated. I didn't feel like messing with the police force. Even if our taxes do pay her salary. Luckily, my son slept like a baby....Erm, better actually, as my baby was up all night looking for the firetrucks to come back.
Still, it was a real blow. I took it personally. "Our cops are tops"? Hardly. At least not this one - she was the bottom of the barrel.
The firemen, on the other hand, were another story altogether. Brave, tall and handsome -even the ones that weren't, were! Toronto's finest indeed...