I am going to be someone's dad. I've been learning lots of new dad stuff. Today I learned that the fire department is good for some things and shitty for others. What the fire department does best is make light and noise, and some fire fighters are good drivers. I say "fire fighters," but they're more like "fire maintainers." At least, in Atlanta, I haven't seen too many fires get put out. Mostly these public employees keep the fire from spreading and let whatever's already burning burn the fuck down. Perhaps more than anything, they instill a sense of relief in people experiencing emergency scenarios. The real help shows up later in the form of a doctor, at a hospital. But doctors work in another line of incompetence that I'll get to at some other time. Fire fighters and the departments they represent suck at the following:
answering the phone
being around their fire station
caring about helping you
being knowledgeable in their supposed areas of expertise
In particular, my local fire station and the firepeople therein purport to maintain a carseat inspection center. But here are the problems: First, you can't call the fire station, because no one answers the phone. So I jogged down there and walked all over the station, looking in the fire trucks and everything, and finally some guy in uniform on his cell phone, looking very bothered that he had to stop his conversation to talk to me, said that he would inspect the carseat right then. I said, okay, but I had to jog back home to get the car.
So I did and when I came back I couldn't find anyone again until I walked inside the building and hunted around till I found some dude watching TV who also seemed very upset that he had to turn the program down to talk to me. When I said another fireman said he'd inspect my carseat, this guy sighed and went to turn off the TV and get up, presumably to reluctantly inspect my carseat himself. But, lucky, at that moment the original guy I talked to walked into the room, still on his cell phone, saw me, and said "I'll be outside in a minute."
He did come out promptly and looked at the carseat and said, "I think you got it in there pretty good." I took the carrier off and explained to him that there was a base that was the actual part that I had to secure.
He looked at it and said I didn't need the shoulder strap lock because our car's shoulder straps locked on impact. He took it off to demonstrate. I smiled and said okay, but I was beyond skeptical; knew that that was not the case. He saw me struggling to tighten the belt that he had just loosened, said "congratualtions," on my forthcoming child, shrugged, then left, and I reinstalled our carseat base the way I had it before this retarded adventure began.