The Power of Love
Sandburg and I got the night shift tonight... in fact I pretty much volunteered us for it and I know it's not going to be fun, it never is. Sure, Valentine's Day is nowhere near as bad as Christmas but it's still no picnic. Tonight is the night in which more broken hearts lead to violence and we are just sitting in the bullpen waiting for the deluge to begin. We know most of the cases that will land on our desks tonight will be very different from the stuff Major Crime usually deals with but experience has taught us that on this night Homicide just can't cope with the demand... and when suicides are added to murders things have a tendency to get very bad very fast.
What's kind of funny is that ever since I teamed up with Sandburg I have a new understanding of just why things have such a tendency to get so out of hand on this particular night. In fact at times I can hardly keep myself from groaning when I hear myself thinking in terms of the social ramifications of the rampant commercialization of Valentine's Day. Whenever that happens I can't help but fear that I've been spending way too much time with my partner, something that doesn't come as much of a surprise considering that we both work and live together. In fact we are together pretty much 24/7 and yet, in spite of that, at times my partner remains a total mystery.
Like what happened one year ago tonight. I remember we got the day shift but as soon as we got home Sandburg took off and I teased him mercilessly about having some sort of hot date on Valentine's Day... I learned a few days later that his hot date had been more of a hotline. He had volunteered to help man the phones in a suicide prevention hotline that night, trying to help by keeping a few cases off our desks in the first place and a few desperate souls alive to see another day. That's when I first got the speech on the ramifications of this particular day, a day in which they sell us love and in which the consequences of that sales pitch all too often end up being death and despair.
I know there are some people for whom this day is incredibly important, people who like to think of themselves as romantics but personally I can't wait for it to be over. As a cop I can't help but fear that it is a day that brings out the worst in way too many people. Last year there even was a case in which a woman with a history of violent behavior shot her boyfriend because he was late picking her up. He survived, but to me that was a pretty good example of just how far out of hand things tend to get on this particular night... of course, it's not just this night. It is a problem around most major holidays, in fact the Christmas season is the worst as far as we are concerned and Mother's Day also causes a slight increase in the number of suicides, though that one is nowhere near as bad as the others.
I should know, Sandburg and I are two of the perpetual volunteers in terms of working on the days everyone else wants to take off. We are here for Christmas and New Year, for Thanksgiving, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day and that is a situation that is unlikely to change any time soon... at least on the surface.
These are the days most people want to spend with their loved ones and seeing how neither Sandburg nor I have any family to spend them with we are both more than happy to take up the slack, but still, it's not the same as it was years ago. I don't know when it changed, not really, but somewhere along the line it did.
Before I met Sandburg I used to volunteer for holiday duty simply because I didn't have anywhere else I'd rather be, now I can do it because I know my family will be by my side and there are people out there who need me on these days more than ever.
I am the Sentinel of the Great City and as such I can't really afford to take the day off, but with my guide by my side I can handle it.