It occurred to me this morning, standing outside a police stand-off in minus-14 degree weather that my first such event was in 1989.
Wow -- that makes me sound old.
But 33 years is a long time and I'm still chasing police cars. It's not a bad gig.
I received a phone call as soon as I arrived at work. I hadn't even sipped my Irish breakfast tea -- by Adagio, I swear by it.
I will tell you I didn't want to go. My plan had been to wipe up some leftover work from the week and take off the afternoon -- either lounging about or day drinking. Hmmmmm.
A man who failed to take his medication for schizophrenia had stabbed this landlord, who was able to escape to a resident next door to the bar where the stabbing occurred. They called police but the stabber would not leave and so a stand off ensued.
That means waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
My car doesn't really warm up anymore so I could not seek refuge. It has 197,000 miles on it and -- I believe -- pretty significant chlamydia. It huffs and puffs and heaves and lurches. But warm-up? Not so much.
I finally trundled over to the Radisson, Wisconsin, village office where the woman there greeted me with an open door and a bottle of water. "Sorry," she said about the water. "It's cold." She did offer to make some coffee but I declined.
I called in the story and texted in some photos so we could break the story.
Every time I thought there was action, I'd pop outside.
At one point a very elderly, very large man drove up in this tiny Toyota truck. "What the hell is going on?" he demanded.
"Police standoff," I reported. "Someone was stabbed." He stayed put until deputies pointed out he couldn't park on a public highway. "Where the yell am I supposed to go?" he demanded. "Anywhere but being parked on a highway."
He pulled off the street, directly blocking the sheriff's command vehicle. The large, old man was told to move again, so he pulled into a bank parking lot within the perimeter of the scene. I wasn't close to the discussion but I assume he was told to leave or be arrested.
"I see you met Anton," said the woman in the village hall. "He drove into a field last week and couldn't get out. He shouldn't be driving."
Later, outside taking photographs, another truck -- this is truck country -- pulled up and the couple politely asked what was going on. I explained to them and the man driving asked, "Where's your goddamned hat?" Sometimes I rush off to scenes. Not the first time, even this year. He handed me a knit hat from his console and said, "Here -- this is yours now."
I do so enjoy being back in my home state where a knit cap can be a lifesaving gift.
I ultimately left after about three hours because I was a day behind on another article. The weather had warmed to four below.
Two hours later, the sheriff called to say the standoff was done after deputies shot in some tear gas and sent in a robot.
The scene ended peacefully.
As I write this, I'm having my second Manhattan before dinner, still trying to warm up from a cold that can sink in deeply, bone deep.
Then I'll have some fish fry and a deep sleep.
Peace unto the Ukraine and peace and warmth and sleep unto you my brothers and sisters.