Society Magazine

The Cold Light of Reality

Posted on the 17 November 2012 by Minimumcover @minimumcover

Yesterday was horrific.

I would love to be able to cleanse the demons by spilling all the dark thoughts and all the feelings that linger still out onto the page, but due to the nature of the jobs involved – I can’t.  Not because of any legal issue or to protect the investigation.  Simply because many of those who read this blog and (unknowingly) work alongside me would easily spot any attempt to conceal the facts with poetic license and literary makeup. I have no option but to resist the urge to share the pain of the last 24 hours and await a time when the memories have faded to recount things in hope of closure.

As I lay on my pillow last night, waiting for exhaustion to finally win the battle with my perpetually spinning brain, I have to admit I wondered whether it was actually worth doing this job any more. Day after day, week after week and year after year we put on that uniform and go out into a world that has a fraction of the respect that used to exist, trying to fix more things than ever with a fraction of the resources, and dealing with – for the most part – the ungrateful and the unstable in our society rather than relentlessly hounding the criminals like we should be.

And for what…

I have listened to people’s last words, to the screams of my colleagues – fighting for their lives on the other end of a radio, I have held the hands of the dying and followed the coffins of friends. How much of this should any of us have to experience in one lifetime?

I have worked on for hours, getting the job done when others have gone home, my family have suffered my absence a hundred times. I have done this only to be berated for the smallest omission by those who micromanage under the bright glare of hindsight.

When all the pieces fall into place we can make a difference for a while. A month…a week…a day…maybe only a few hours – but it’s a difference. Those successes are what keep us going but they are getting harder to find all the time and the warm feeling of satisfaction fades faster now chilled by the cold light of reality and the knowledge that even the best placed twig won’t make a dam against the torrent of modern criminality.

It was light outside by the time I finally drifted off this morning only to be woken by my phone a couple of hours later. The call was short – an apology followed by a shift change notification. I should be getting ready now, but I just don’t know if I want to. I know, deep down that I will, and come five o’clock I will be back behind the wheel, ready to face it all again – because that’s what we do.

Thankfully these days are rare – usually I just roll with the punches and drown the fatigue in coffee but today is one of those days and it’s going to be hard to shake off the excess weight. I feel that putting this into words has helped a little. It’s not what I wanted to write, and I apologize for the morbid tone of the post, but there’s no point pretending everything is peachy. Burying problems only lets them put down roots and pretty soon you’ve got a whole damn tree to chop at.

Anyway, I will catch you all later…I guess it’s time to get ready.

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