As we speak, there is a Bellingham Police Crime Scene Investigation truck parked in the alley behind my building. Guys in yellow zip-up suits have made brief appearances, opening and closing truck doors before disappearing again, and I’ve stood in my window, gawking, trying to see what it is that’s happening–but they managed to park their enormous truck right between me and whatever they’re doing. Yes, I’m a no-good voyeur, but I’ll tell you what–there’s something far more disturbing about have a Crime Scene Investigation (wait. Isn’t that a TV show?) truck parked behind my house, rather than a plain-old everyday ambulance.
What? We have crime in Bellingham now?
But seriously. Not a laughing matter, I know. I always feel compelled to run up to stuff like that–accidents, ambulances, big Police trucks–and ask if I can help somehow, but I’m always held up by the suspicion that I don’t really want to help, I just want to know what’s going on. I’m just nosy, not helpful. And besides–what could I do? The one time I was actually able to help in an “emergency situation” I was terrified–and all I could do was hold somebody’s hand. What I felt was not heroic, but helpless.
Here, however, one could assume that the crime has already taken place, the injured have been whisked away, and now there’s just that tiny matter of Investigation to clear up before everybody goes home for the day. Meanwhile, all the nosy neighbors peer out of their blinds and make up excuses to go out in the backyard, just to, you know, check things out–I mean, throw away that single bag of old, rotten lettuce.
So, yes. It’s a fine line between wanting genuinely to help others and wanting to dig up a good story to tell over lunch the next day–and I suspect that this is one of those “good story” moments. In fact, yes, it is, because I’m telling the damn story right now. Ha! Case closed.