Although I'm already at 50 hours this week, I had to come in for the sole purpose of meeting a shipping company to get equipment shipped out that is coming off lease. Everything's ready to go and as soon as the carrier signs the bill of lading, I'm out the door.
The list of "to-dos" for today include finish (start!) gatering my radio gear, clothes, tent and jetboil (for coffee!), get a vehicle from Rod (somehow) get over to Heather Farms park in Walnut Creek to meet my buddy John, shuttle him over to OES to get one of the department vans and light tower/generator, get back to the park and set up. Unfortunately, I have no idea as of yet what time the shipper will arrive. In the past, they've been here around 10. That would suit me just fine.
Now to add to the excitement of it all: After my train left the station this morning, the driver got on the intercom and informed me that my station was closed "due to police activity" and that there was no estimated time of reopening. (Police activity isn't a big surprise in Oakland. Police inactivity would shake the foundations of the city. Let's just say that this is no Mayberry. Andy and Barney wouldn't last long around here.) No big deal. I exited at 19th street and walked the last seven blocks. I may do that more often, it was kind of nice to get a little walk in before coming into the office.
As I'm walking up the street, I see a couple of news vans parked around one of the entrances to the BART station. I decide to hit the internet and see what's happening. From the kcbs.com website:
Posted: Friday, 27 June 2008 8:14AM
Suspicious Backpack Closes BART at 12th in Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (KCBS) -- BART Police, along with bomb
dogs walked all of the entrances to Oakland's 12th Street BART station this
morning, after a passenger reported an unattended backpack and reported it
station manager, who opened the bag.
There was a cylinder, which
in some sort of paper, according to the station agent who saw
this. There was
nothing much else in the bag,” said BART Spokesman Linton
different bomb dogs then indicated that there was something
suspicious about the
bag, so now the U.C. Berkeley bomb squad, and the
Alameda County Sheriff’s bomb
squad are on scene to remove the
Trains continue to run through the station because the backpack has
been moved to another level, but the trains are not stopping.
riders are asked to enter the system at the 19th Street station to
closure, which may last until 9:30 a.m.
Fun. I may have a bomb sitting on the foundation of my 18 story building.
I take my cue from the authorities. I figure that if they're still running trains through the station, it's more precaution than anything that has caused them to close the station. If they were really worried about a bomb, they would have stopped all the trains and evacuated my building and the ones around the area. I keep checking out the windows to see what's going on down there, but continue about my morning. After all, I need coffee and I've not gotten any yet.
A couple phone calls from people that need help, a couple problems solved and the next look out the window reviels... nothing. No column of smoke, no flashy lights, no police line tape across the sairs and escalators down to the station.
A check back to the KCBS website and what was an hour ago the top headline has already moved to the bottom of the page, right above a link to a story about the parking garages in San Jose suffering lack of customers due to high gas prices.
Authorities reopened the station at around 9 a.m., when they determined that the backpack only contained hair care products.
Honestly, couldn't we come up with a more exciting ending than that? Where's the hero, clutching the ticking package as his partner races them to the edge of a pier so they could throw the bomb into the water mere seconds before it explodes, showering them in a brillaint display of water? Where's the cutting of the red (no blue!) wire as the timer steadily counts down to zero?
Please don't think I'm discrediting the work that the bomb sqad members do. Not by any means. These guys SIGN UP to do what they do. They volunteer to get between a bomb and others and make the situation safe. My hat is off to those guys. They have my deepest appreciation.