Ladies and gentlemen, the 911 transcript you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
(Actually, none of it is true and no names were used at all, but go ahead and read it anyway…)
911 Operator: Nine-One-One. What is your emergency?
Distraught Woman: Help me! Please. I…I don’t know where I am.
911: Calm down, ma’am. Are you hurt?
911: I said, are you hurt?
Woman: What? I can’t hear you.
911: ARE YOU HURT?
Woman: Oh, sorry. Yes. I must have fallen and hit my head. It feels like a hammer is pounding in my ears.
911: Can you describe your location?
Woman: Well, it’s dark. I can hardly see anything. I’m not sure if I can even sit up.
911: Take your time.
Woman: Wait! There’s something above me. I think it’s a…palm tree.
911: Are you outdoors?
Woman: No, I definitely feel the floor below me. And I just noticed a surfboard leaning against the wall. It’s like I’m in a beach house, but I don’t remember traveling anywhere. Do you think I’ve been kidnapped?!?
911: Uh, ma’am? Relax. I’ve traced your signal to the Galleria Extravaganza Mall on the west side of town. You’re in the Hollister store on Level Two.
911: Are you there? Can you hear me?
Woman: Sorry…yes. I remember now. I was back-to-school shopping with my daughter.
911: Are you still in pain? Do you want me to send help?
Woman: No, no. I’ll be fine. In fact, I just realized that the pounding in my ears is actually very loud music. Why does it have to be so loud?
911: Probably because it weakens your self-control and leads to impulsive purchasing decisions. (Pause) I have a daughter too.
Woman: (Heavy sigh) It’s all coming back to me now. We walked into Hollister, but then we got separated. She went to the Jeans Lounge, while I looked for the clearance rack at the back of the store. It was just so dark and so hard to navigate through all those little rooms, though. It’s like they don’t even want you to find the clearance rack.
911: You may have a point there.
Woman: When I was a kid, back-to-school shopping meant a trip to J.C. Penney for a new pair of sneakers and a few basics. But the things I’ve seen today – duster kimonos, high rise culotte shorts, drapey knit crop tops? And jeans that have names, like Devin and Bryden and Blake. I’ll never figure out why a pair of jeans needs a name.
911: You know what I’ll never figure out? The difference between jeggings and super skinny jeans.
Woman: I know. I think it’s just that jeggings have a higher percentage of spandex, and sometimes they don’t have actual pockets or snaps, like jeans do. But it depends on the brand.
Woman: How about this…when did a hooded sweatshirt become known exclusively as a hoodie? Isn’t it still technically a sweatshirt?
911: Well, all hoodies are sweatshirts, but not all sweatshirts are hoodies. So if it has a hood, you should probably call it a hoodie to eliminate confusion.
Woman: Fair enough. Oh my goodness, a life-size Ken doll is walking toward me. No wait, it’s just one of the cool kids who works here. He’s trying to ask me something. “What? WHAT? Oh, no thank you. I’m just looking around.”
911: Where exactly are you looking around? On the floor?
Woman: Very funny. Force of habit – I always say that so they don’t hover.
911: Well, I need to clear the line in case someone who has actually been kidnapped calls in. Will you be all right now?
Woman: Yes. I might just lie here for a little longer. I’m so tired. My daughter will eventually pass by on her way to the dressing room.
911: Take care of yourself. I suggest a flashlight and noise-canceling headphones if you plan to return to Hollister. Otherwise, we’ll be doing this all over again during the holiday shopping season.
Woman: Roger. (Chuckling) I read you loud and clear.
911: Over and out.