Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Cops and "The Bob Dutko Show"

Those two have nothing to do with each other---as far as I know---apart from the fact that they converged at my house at the exact same moment this morning.

Here's what happened: I was scheduled to appear on "The Bob Dutko Show" today at 11 a.m. Mountain time. We're living in a two-family house right now, this was a phone interview, and the guys downstairs had their music turned up a little bit too loud. We have a good relationship with them, so my husband was going to ask them to turn it down right before I went on the air.

So far, no problem. Until, oh, 10:50 a.m. That's when one of the guys---I'll call him Joe---started throwing bags of clothes out their front door. Uh oh. Last week Joe had threatened to throw out his roommate---I'll call him Bob---for not paying his share of the rent. Today, it seemed, he was making good on the threat. In no time the front yard was littered with boxes of empty beer bottles (do you know how much noise that makes?), a large metal trunk, and the rest of Bob's earthly goods.

Meanwhile, I'm prepping for the radio interview, wondering what on earth would happen next.

The phone rings. I don't have my glasses on, but I'm sure caller ID reads "Ware Christina"---the name of one of my friends. I pick up the phone and breathlessly announce, "I can't talk! I'm on the air in a few minutes!" The caller laughs. It's Bob Dutko's producer. Only later did I realize that caller ID actually read "WMUZ Christian." The show airs on WMUZ Christian radio on 103.5 FM in Detroit. Hey, it was an honest mistake. I put my glasses on.

By now, though, I'm not doing so well, but I rally and make it through the first on-air segment. Then we broke for a commercial, and I couldn't help myself. I had to see the next scene in the drama unfolding below. There was Bob, looking abandoned and forlorn, sitting outside on his metal trunk, snow falling on and around him. Yes, it had just started snowing.

I noticed he was on his cell phone and jokingly suggested to my husband that he was calling the cops.

The next on-air segment went fine---until I noticed one cop car, and then another, slowly drive by the window and slow to a halt. Now I'm seriously distracted. Somehow I held it together until the next commercial break, when I looked out and saw not one, not two, but four police cars. Oh, and three emergency vehicles including a fire truck. I live in a town of 8,000 people on a good day. This had to be the city's entire fleet of emergency and police vehicles, all parked haphazardly below my window.

I know the guys downstairs well enough to know that there's no danger involved. And I know them well enough to know that this is an utterly hilarious scenario. But I can't laugh. I'm back on the air, talking as intelligently as I can about independent voters and partisan politics.

The moment---I mean the exact moment---the interview ended, the cops left, but not before they forced Joe to put everything back in the house and told him he had to let Bob stay until they could go to court. Joe later told us he wasn't upset about that; he was just glad that for the first time in his life, the cops didn't make him go with them. They did confiscate his concealed weapons---a couple of pocketknives he had in his jeans pockets---but they let him keep the many swords that adorn his wall, once he assured them that if he'd intended to hurt Bob, he would have done it long before they arrived.

So if you were listening to me on the radio today and I sounded a bit rattled, you now know why. And if I sounded in any way intelligent and focused, you now know how well I can fake it. I felt like the fourth-graders in A Christmas Story looking out the classroom window at Flick, whose tongue is stuck to the frozen flagpole: "Holy smokes, it's the firemen!" "Holy smokes, it's the cops!"

My husband, by the way, never did ask them to turn down the music. Any wonder why?

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