Friday, November 17, 2006

10-17 Request for Gasoline

College Boyfriend once got a job as a Campus Security Officer. They worked in conjunction with the UCB Police Department walking people home from the library at 3 AM, walking drunk girls home from frat houses, and walking around campus from 7 or 8 PM to 5 or 6 AM. This job was highly desirable for poorer students because it paid better than most campus jobs ($8 an hour, maybe? this was 1997) and basically consisted of walking around in the middle of the night with a flashlight and hitting on girls who didn't want to walk home alone.

Part of the job required College Boyfriend to memorize a list of police codes. He was never much of one for memorization, so I agreed to help him by making up mnemonic devices and going through his flash cards with him. I think before they let him go out in his awesome tan polyester uniform (the pants were too long so I hemmed them) he had to take some kind of test on the codes, so he crammed for several hours the night before the test. Because I've always been the type who memorized stuff that I didn't even need to know (for example, for every play in which I was cast in high school, I knew the lines and/or parts of everyone on stage with me - I knew all 6 parts of Steel Magnolias by heart!), I couldn't help but memorize some of those codes as well.

I still remember some of them - 10-20 was "location" and I helped College Boyfriend remember this by having him remember, "Can I have the 10-20 on the dead body?" 10-17 was, of course "Request for gasoline" - one of the few that actually sort of rhymed. I remember some nights when he'd have a shift and at midnight or 1 AM I'd go out and meet him on campus somewhere, walking around with him in the dark, still, and foggy Berkeley nights to keep him company. Those were surreal nights, especially when the sky was purple with fog and cloud and pollution and just Bay Area climate. I got to see so many parts of the campus that I would never have otherwise explored, and I got to see them with nobody else around, except maybe a bum sleeping here or there. He found come pretty cool spots and looked forward to showing them to me.

I could never stay out for long - I could never comfortably stay up that late. I become a pumpkin after 2 AM pretty much no matter what the circumstances - any later and I start getting nauseated. But he'd call one of the other CSOs to escort me home to my dorm or to his apartment, where I'd go to sleep and not even stir when he joined me in the dawn.

He didn't have that job for a long time, maybe just 6 months or so. He wasn't big or imposing (so he never felt terribly comfortable armed with only a flashlight (even though it was a big heavy MagLight)) and had a girlfriend so wasn't all that interested in trying to seduce the drunk freshmen since he had regular and reliable booty calls from me. And I'm sure today he doesn't remember a single one of those codes. But when I realized this evening that this is the 17th day in a row I've blopped, the phrase "10-17 Request for Gasoline" popped in my head, so there you have it.

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