My New Job As Lookout

From my desk, I have an excellent view of the abandoned Parkland Hospital at Maple and Oak Lawn avenues. Currently, that means I have an excellent view of the obviously delusional man running around on the roof, scooting along the ledges, teetering on the edge of the Spanish tile roof and generally acting like he's in, according to self-proclaimed heist-movie expert Matt Pulle, Conspiracy Theory.

When the guy decided to take an unsettling breather on the corner edge just above the main entrance, I dialed 9-1-1. Apparently, they had received a "prowler" report, but when I spoke with the operator, she asked if I wouldn't mind if she put in a call while I waited, as the report deserved an escalated rating. I agreed; this guy could very well hurt himself intentionally—or unintentionally, if he was on something (or off some meds he needed). With the bizarre moves he was pulling out, there was cause for alarm. She was very helpful and then said something really interesting, "Keep an eye on him...Well, I'm not going to tell him you have to, but if you want to. Just...if you think there's a reason he needs an ambulance let us know, OK?" That was 15 minutes ago. Still no sign of the cops, though a helicopter of some kind did just circle briefly.

So that's how 911 works. --Merritt Martin

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