I am not sure were the title came from, but it was there when I started.
I imagine someone once coined it to reflect the intense relationship that sometimes can develop when you have two who work together often. I mean, we do face life and death situations and other times traumatic events. You see each other at the best, and worst of times. Sometimes it’s fun and laughter, and other times there’s arguments. I mean, we are hired for our Type A personalities. In any event, that is the title given to those we closely work with.
I have had two work husbands and one work wife. It is not a reflection of me and my ability to get along, or not, with partners (escorts as we call them.) Rather, it is indicative of the nature of turn over from the front-line Primary Response Unit (PRU) to other units, and then back. PRU is the first place we start, and it is always the place we come back to, for most officers. But in between, there are lots of places and opportunities for officers to go for six months, two years , five years and sometimes beyond. Cops on bikes, on the internet, in Tavis, in sex crimes, in homicide and many, many other areas. Some may stay for their careers in a squad, but for many, the majority, they will return to the PRU.
I work with a bunch of boys mostly. Little boys. Don’t kid yourself, they really are still eight to ten years old, just taller. They like to fart and gas each other out, and laugh about it. They laugh at the word ‘boobie’ and they punch, kick and wrestle with each other. Many mothers of young boys would recognize this behaviour. And when they do grow up and behave like adults, they can be extremely moody and difficult to get along with. I mean, with us all being A-Type Personalities, we take charge, we want to do it our own way and we all think we are right. Needless to say, there’s sometimes a lot of arguing going on lol!
There is nothing happy and easy about sitting next to a moody guy, especially if you and him have different ideas about how radio calls should be handled. It just makes for a long and stressful shift. I have to say, I have never lived as an adult with a male and I really have empathy for all those wives and girlfriends. I don’t know how you all do it! I came from an environment, the exact opposite, where for over fifteen years, my employment consisted solely of working with females. As hard as people think it is to work in an all female workplace, there is no greater challenge than sitting next to one of those said moody guys in the confined space of a car for ten hours. I think the job is hard enough, without all the personality interplay underlying a shift. I much prefer to be with someone with whom I have the same philosophy and approach to the job and someone who will make me laugh and have a good time. It helps with the hard times on the job.
So, I’ll introduce you to my present work husband, (and he picked his screen name) Ralph. He’s a tall, big lug, with a heart of gold for his family and he is as loyal as they come. We don’t always see eye-to-eye on radio calls. Actually, often we are at odds, but he makes me laugh. He comes into work, and no matter what is happening, he puts on a game face and out we go. There is no moodiness, no grumpiness, just a person with a good sense of humour. Most of the time. My job is to entertain him and make him laugh. Cause if we are not enjoying ourselves, we won’t want to work together. And as for those times when he wants to do something the wrong way, I argue with him until he does it the right way. Right Ralph?
He doesn’t complain, talk about anyone behind their back or bitch about them not doing their job. I do. Or I try to. But that’s where men and women are different. He just becomes quiet and drifts off somewhere else, not even listening. He will absolutely, flat out refuse to answer if he doesn’t want to. ‘Don’t you think they should have backed up the Sargent?” I ask, which befalls upon silence, as if I didn’t even say anything. But still I’ll try. “What did you think of that move by Spanky?” I’ll ask. Crickets. Crickets. I look at him driving, cause he’s always driving, and his eyes are blank. Nothing there. I mean NOTHING. He just goes there, to that nothing place where he is absent from the world. And he continues to ignore me.
I say he always drives cause he can’t stand giving up the control of the car. The odd time when I get assertive and decide I want to be in control, he quickly goes to his car and pulls out his bike helmet. “Really? Put that thing away. You look like a knob sitting in the scout with that helmet on!” And he thinks he’s funny. But he is truly an annoying passenger and he isn’t even sitting in the back seat. First, it’s the path I’ve chosen to get to our destination. Wrong. Then there’s that finger, the one that signals the turns, the directions, whether to use lights and sirens, and even a lane change. When he flashes it near my face, I have only one defence – bite it! I’ve almost got him lol. Then of course, is the yelling and screaming. Like really? Like a little girl. If I’m within three feet of anything he starts to hyperventilate. His sharp intake of breath, trying to slam the brakes on where he sits, and the covering of his eyes, all while sometimes shrieking to his horror. I am not exaggerating here. He really is a drama queen. Then lastly is the arrival. The car is too close to the curb, too far from the curb, should be in the middle of the road, no in the driveway, heck turn around and face the other way. Wrong. And I actually thought that by driving I would have more control. Wrong. I found out he does get grumpy sometimes. Remarkably it is every time I drive!
And he calls Sue the Goddess. This is because, he says, she tolerates me.You see, he often just looks at me and says “Duct tape,” which is his solution to dealing with me. Duct tape for my mouth when I talk too much. Duct tape me to the seat when I want to get out and chase. Duct tape me to the spot so he won’t loose me. And the worse of all, duct tape my hands to the steering wheel when I’m driving. You see I talk with my hands and he always insists that there be a least ONE hand on the steering wheel at all times. He’s so annoying! So he has duct tape to deal with our interpersonal dynamics and he just shakes his head and calls Sue The Goddess.
So, I sit, mostly in the passenger seat, and do my due diligence. I keep him happy, healthy and fed. I accomplish this by entertaining him, keeping him with a coffee in the hand and making sure he gets his yummy Schwarma from his favourite restaurant. And I try to show him what a good passenger does. Pay attention here Ralph! I sit there quietly and let him drive at whatever speed and take whatever path he wants to take. But most importantly, I make sure he doesn’t miss his wife. You see, he needs consistency. And as he says “I’m a good little trained monkey” and I want to ensure he doesn’t mess this up. So I let him know about the 20-80 rule. He is right only 20% of the time and wrong 80% of the time. When he comes out of his nothing zone, that vacuous place where all time and matter stop, I take great delight in telling him many times throughout the shift when he is wrong. He says it’s just like being at home. Right!
He complains that I talk too much. I admit, I get excited when we’ve been on days off and I have so much news to tell him. I am animated and hyper and I talk on and on and he just smiles, nods and laughs a little, occasionally reminding me to breathe. That’s usually when he tells me he has duct tape in his duty bag, just for me. But I know the truth. He secretly enjoys my entertainment AND he hates the silence. If I stop talking for three minutes, he checks to make sure I have a pulse, and then starts whistling. He can’t stand the silence but he wont admit it. And he whistles the All In The Family TV series theme. Of course you know by Edith’s part, being tone deaf, I just have to break in with my horrible rendition of her singing. And then we start laughing, and making strange noises at each other as we go to yet another 911 call. And if it’s lights and sirens on the way, he will usually scare me with his driving and I start laughing hysterically in my fear.You see, when I’m afraid, like on rides or in speeding cars, I don’t scream. I laugh. Hysterically sometimes. As we make our way, me non-stop laughing, I always imagine having to try and explain this in court, as everything is being recorded. “Officer, it seems you found it hysterically funny going to this very serious call for emergency service. Can you explain what you found so funny?” “Yes, you see my escort scared me with his driving and I laugh when I am scared. But he was also poking my side tickling me so I would laugh all the more and embarrass myself. And yes, he does that even while going lights and sirens, Your Honor.”
So as far as work husbands go, he’s a good one. I think I’ll keep him for awhile. But we won’t tell him that.