One day a few years ago at about 4:30 in the morning, this starts.
So at 0435 hours, the entire neighborhood of Toluca Lake is going crazy with fire-truck sirens.
So while a good part of Universal Studios Hollywood is burning down, what happens? I get calls at North Hollywood Police Station Desk. Tons of them. I’m working morning watch (this "shift" starts in the evening and ends in the morning) desk this particular morning. It was just my dumb luck this day. Why the fuck would you call your police station if you’re seeing giant plumes of smoke rising in the air? FIRE ENGINES, hooks and ladders, and all manner of FIRE DEPARTMENT vehicles are speeding their way to Universal Studios’ back lot, and what are you doing? You call your police station.
The desk officer’s job is to take telephonic crime reports: stolen cars, burglary from motor vehicles—things you can report without an on-scene investigation. If I’m talking to deluded, infantile, narcissistic retards who can’t be bothered to do the first thing to be self-sufficient, I’m not doing my real job taking reports and answering simple legal questions.
Toluca Lake is a ridiculously affluent and tiny neighborhood right next door to Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank and really close to the entire film, movie, music, and TV industry collectively known as Hollywood (as opposed to actual Hollywood, the part of LA known for degenerate transients, vacant storefronts, and the smell of piss everywhere). It is also home to idiots, apparently. When a fire kicks off they don’t: a) look out their window and see one of the biggest fires they’ll most likely see in their lifetime; b) get some valuables together in case they have to leave quickly; or c) monitor TV and local radio news to see whether they have to leave. No, they called me—the police, at the front desk. One after another. Every fucking call for two hours went something like this:
Me: "Good Morning. North Hollywood Community Police Station, this is Officer Murphy—how can I help you?" (No joke—the department mandates this precise greeting and audits all divisions to ensure this greeting is consistently delivered.)
Caller: "WHAT’S GOING ON?"
Me: (not knowing what the hell the caller’s specifically talking about, but using flawless deductive logic to conclude they’re talking about the big-ass fire next door): "Universal Studios is on fire."
Me: (I fucking love that response. Like you’re going to call a police station in a panic about FIRE ENGINES rolling down your block and I’m going to lie?!) "Yes, really."
Caller: "What do I do?!"
Me: It’s really bad. There’s easily going to be over a hundred firefighters there (according to reports, 512 firefighters fought this blaze) soon. It’s unclear if it’ll be contained; it may spread. If I were you I’d pack up some valuables so you can evacuate quickly and monitor it on TV news. (I can now see on my phone that there are THREE calls in the queue waiting to be answered, which is unheard-of at 0430AM any day of the week.) OK, I have to go, there are other people on the line—
Caller: "Wait! Uhm…"
Me: "Look, your neighbors are all calling me. I have to get to them, is there an emergency that I can help you with miles away at North Hollywood desk right now?"
At this point I hang up and begin answering the next call, which went almost exactly like the conversation above—and other calls like it for more than two hours straight. I went home at around 7 that morning, and people were still calling. I defy you to witness abject adult infantilism and human stupidity like I did for over two hours straight and not come out just a little bit misanthropic.