I went out for Eritrean food
with my friend Bryan
and his friend Chuck last night at New Eritrea Restaurant
out in the Inner Sunset. I hadn't been there since the mid-90's, Bryan had never eaten Eritrean, and I had never met Chuck, so there was a slight risk of it being an utter disaster. For those of you who have never eaten Eritrean, it closely resembles Ethiopian food and is somewhat similar to Indian food.
It tastes a lot better than it looks, trust me...
Typical westernized Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine consists of this spongy slightly sour flat bread called injera
along with a bunch of communal dishes, family style. That's the injera underneath everything in the picture. They also give you some additional injera, similar to how you get tortillas in a Mexican restaurant. You tear off a piece of injera and use it to scoop up whatever food you choose, such as a salad, some stew, lentils, even a chicken leg and eat it. The fact that you eat with your fingers on a communal plate is a little off putting for some people and downright disgusting to others.
But my fears were unfounded. It all turned out good. Everyone enjoyed the food and the restaurant was about as good as I remember it. The waitstaff didn't really understand English all that well, but it all worked out.
When Chuck found out that I was a cop, he was a bit surprised. He asked some of the usual questions (see my previous post :-) ) and when I said that I patrol solo in my own patrol car he said that it sounded scary. He asked if I ever got scared at work.
It's weird, but honestly, not really. When rolling to a call for a "man with a gun" or the infamous "unfolding 911 calls", the adrenalin gets pumping, but it isn't really scary
. Unfolding 911 calls are one of those calls where you initially get dispatched to a "domestic argument", you start rolling towards that direction, 30 seconds later the dispatcher says, "Female has now locked herself in a bathroom, male is still in the house" which then follows 30 seconds later with "Male now using an axe to try and get through the bathroom door." D'oh!!!
Thank you for calling 911, to continue in English press one, para Espanol oprima numero dos...
Anyway, even in those type of calls, where you have to deal with Jack Nicholson, there really isn't any time to be
scared. You just do what needs to be done. In most real bad calls, such as the axe murderer coming through the door, they usually try to send another officer, but some nights, (lately most nights thanks to budget cuts) , it can be real busy where we're all dealing with our own private little axe murderers. During those times there isn't anyone to send as backup so off you go dealing with Jack all by yourself.
Is it scary? I dunno.. yes if I think about it, but I usually don't. My mind is usually trying to figure out what needs to be done, becoming alert to everything going on around me, the radio, etc. In many ways, at work, a sense of fear is more of a sixth sense telling me something is not right with the situation and that there is more going on than I realize. In those cases, I usually step back a second so I can figure out if I'm really "seeing" everything. In most cases, I've been right that there was more going on than meets the eye initially. I guess a lot of it has to do with experience.
One time I was sent to an abandoned vehicle call at a cul-de-sac in an industrial part of town at around 3am. Late at night, they love dispatching these types of "community enhancement" calls. I rolled up to the cul-de-sac. The street lights were out , but I could see the car sitting there at the end in the middle of the street. Something in the back of my brain was screaming "Something's wrong" so i stopped my patrol car, reversed out of the cul-de-sac and called for backup. Sure enough there were 4 armed gangbangers hiding out in the car. Were they planning to ambush me? I dunno. According to them, they were just chillin'.......at 3am....in a dark cul-de-sac....armed...in a stolen vehicle....yeah right...
Of course there are always situations like this that still scare the beejeezus outta me...
So what scares you? Eritrean food? Axe murderers? Genuine imitation leather?