Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's 4am. Do you know where your child's vaccination records are?

Phone rings at 4:30 a.m. I am so deeply asleep that I don't actually manage to answer it before the 4th ring, but as of the 4th ring I am completely awake.

The kids? Sleeping.
Bob? Sleeping.
My parents? At their house in Virginia.

Crap. Something has happened to my parents. I wait for the light on the phone to start blinking, indicating a message. It doesn't start blinking.

Ok, wrong number. Try to fall back asleep.

Phone rings at 5 a.m. I'M AWAKE! I'M AWAKE! "Yes?"

"This is an urgent message about your child in the Baltimore City School System." Ga-wha? He's in the other room - ISN'T HE???!

"We are missing important medical information about your child. Please contact his or her school immediately with the proper medical documentation." Or some shit like that, seriously, once I processed that the computer voice was talking about his SHOT RECORD, who cares?

I never got back to sleep after that one. Bob works for the school system. On his way out the door, I said, "Oh hey, don't forget to give someone shit about that 4:30 phone call."

He calls from work later. "Between the hours of 11pm and 6am, 20,000 households got that phone call - that's 10% of the homes with schoolchildren in this city." They had used the "Reverse-911" system - a nifty thing that takes a list of addresses and makes computer phone calls - but they didn't teach the system the difference between a.m. and p.m.