Thursday, March 5, 2015

Code White: Everything Stops

Recently, I got the opportunity to co-present a training on homelessness and mental illness for the county Sheriff's Department. As an officer walked myself and my colleague through the maze of our sprawling urban jail, the PA rumbled to life. I could barely understand anything it said, but our guide stuck out her arm in front of us. "Code White," she said. "Everything stops."

And it did. Everyone stopped what they were doing. She listened for a moment, and then went on to tell us the code system for the jail. Code White is a medical or mental health emergency, and only designated staff are authorized to move through the facility until it is lifted. We sat on a bench, and we waited. I had time to look around and notice what I would only have walked quickly by without the Code White. It looked kind of like jail on TV, with cinder-block walls and hard metal benches. There was an unexpected cheerfulness in the reflection on the tile floor. I'm sure I wouldn't have noticed that otherwise. Cheerfulness was not at all what I expected to find there.

We're having another kind of Code White situation in Tennessee right now.

People love to make fun of southerners for freaking out about dustings of snow that would have trouble rivaling sugar on a powdered doughnut, but there are reasons. Reasons! Most of our cities are not prepared to treat the roads and our drivers might be able to handle mud, mountains, and grass, but ice is not exactly in our wheelhouse. Anyway, that said, the snow we've got basically amounts to a Tennessee blizzard. I'd be stopped in my tracks anyway, but since I also have a raging cold, you might say I'm feeling under the weather. *rimshot* (Okay, okay. I don't feel good. I have to amuse myself somehow.)

Snow days (and/or sick days) are good for a lot of things--watching a snow-hating puppy bound back inside the house like her tail is on fire (or like she wishes it was), watching funny TV with Husband (who has the BEST laugh), and getting past the exposition of a book that's been on the TBR pile too long.

These slow-downs and stop signs are also a chance to catch our breath and take a look around and what we've been missing. We can take in our surroundings a little more fully, run through the thoughts we've pushed to the backs of our minds, and hopefully, give a little reflection to whom the Code White may be an emergency.

I've been counting my blessings while I've been sequestered in the house. The last one on the list is the ability and time to do so.


Ellen Prewitt said...

I have "snow envy." It looks so beautiful. Glad the cold didn't keep you from enjoying it.

Marisa said...

I'm sorry you missed it, Ellen! Ally definitely wishes she had missed it. I've never seen a dog who doesn't like snow!