911 : What is your emergency please ?

Every American’s genes are programmed to recognize this three-number combo : 911.

When nine, one, one must be dialed, hands tremble, hearts pound furiously and stomachs churn.

After a certain lapse of time, which is never as long as it always appears to be to the person with the emergency, sirens in the distance approach until suddenly they split the eardrums of the person waiting, the one who’s dialed the number…
… and finally, feet come a running or quickly striding to bring the needed help.

If you were born in the States in the late 1960s, nine one one was ingrained in you throughout your childhood, and for those born prior to 1968, it’s probably become even second nature.

What’s the history behind these three numbers that are associated with help, knights in shining armor, security and safety ?

In 1967, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) met with the nation’s telephone entity, American Telephone & Telegraph, to establish a universal emergency number.

They wanted a number that was short and easy to remember. More importantly, however, they needed a unique number that had never been designated as an office, area or service code.

Nine, one, one was just that, and it became accepted as the way to inform America of any and all emergency situations, nationwide.1

But today, those three numbers are pronounced more often than not as nine-eleven in relation and reaction to the terrorist attacks which took place in the US on September 11, 2001. Folks living in the United States of America got rocked hard and the core of that country’s fundamental beliefs crumbled just like New York City’s twin towers. It was first time that such a horrific event happened on US soil. Unimaginable for Americans to believe they could be reached at home and it’s taken years for this reality to become accepted.

And then, just as Americans were finally dealing with this reality, the country gets hit with a new nine, one, one combination : eleven-nine.

Eleven-nine. I certainly will never forget it. I went to bed in France on November 8th 2016, never believing I’d awake in a world where the American electoral system would place a man named Donald J. Trump into the oval office as the nation’s 45th president !

Ever since I awoke that day, it feels as if I am starring in a new TV episode of the Outer Limits !

I keep thinking that I will open my eyes and discover I was just dealing with a nightmare concocted by my subconscious. That I will then be able to shake of the fright just in time to tune in to a newscast where I will discover who was REALLY elected.

Yet, it seems this nightmare is running amuck, like some sort of prolongation of a prolongation. It keeps getting worse in ways my subconscious mind could never ever conceive.

So, now, I must face the reality that I am not caught in some nightmare. That this will not end as soon as I receive whatever message my subconscious mind wanted me to receive.

The repercussions of this realization are mind-boggling !

With all my questions about how in the world could this have happened, where to begin ?

No matter which querying direction I take, I get no further than my first « but how… ? », before my mind becomes entangled like a centipede whose feet do the same thing when it tries to figure which foot it puts forward first when it advances from one space to an other.

This being the case, I turn from the mind-boggling question in search of one which my mind could address. That’s how I came up with my nine, one, one query.

One aside, to give some background information : I relocated from the States to France. That’s how I learned that folks outside of the US write their dates differently. Americans write 9/11 and refer to what happened on September 11th as what happened on nine eleven. Europeans, however, take the same date as being the 11th of September then write it as 11/9. My guess is that if something memorable transpired on that day, they might just refer to its date as eleven-nine.

Do you see where this is going ? A little recall perhaps?

In the States, when you dial 911 the operator will respond :
« 911, what is your emergency please ? »

9…1…1… First earth-shaterring emergency for the US.
Terrorists tumble New York City’s twin towers.

1…1…9… First earth-shaterring emergency for…THE WORLD !

Trump tumbles US citizens’ voters’ tally.

I do not EVEN want to envision what universe-shattering emergency will occur when someone dials 911 on  19/1 or nineteen-one!

With all that has already come pass , that my mind still cannot fathom,
nineteen-one may just be the day when our physical world comes to an end.

Someone will dial the three number combination, but the call will come to late…

…the operator will reply : « Nine, one, one, what is your emer– »

…only to be cut off mid-stream as bombs explode across the planet.

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About emanita01

I am a Franco-american woman who hails from Massachusetts. I live in France near the Swiss border, only minutes away from Geneva. I am a member of the Geneva Writers Group and the Association La Forge, a literary group based in France. I write stories, poems and am currently working on a couple of plays, a one-woman show and a dramatized poem.
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