It was about 2am and the fire department was dispatched to a hazardous condition call: a tree limb resting on power lines around the block. I was already awake because there was a hell of an explosion when they touched.
When we pulled up in the fire truck, every light on the street was on. People stood around on their front steps, clustered on the street, straining their necks to see the show in the backyard on the corner. The high voltage line was spitting out sparks and glowing in bright hues of blue and gold. Very impressive.
I’d seen all of these people before, walking dogs, cutting their grass…but I’d never seen so many of them at one time. A woman came up and told us to be careful of her vegetable garden, which is just in front of the sparky wire. I wanted to tell her, “Don’t worry, lady. We’re not going anywhere near that wire,” but when you put on the fire gear you don’t want people to think you’re afraid of being electrocuted. Instead, I thanked her for the info. Another person was wondering how we’d extinguish the burning branch and sparking wires. Once again, I reined in my tongue. Good thing, because I almost said, “We’re going to spray water on it. And if you like, we’ll let you hold the nozzle. You might feel a slight tingle.”
As in many situations, keeping your mouth shut is not a bad policy. Like the old saying goes, better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. And your neighbors will be less impressed with your community service if you give them wise-ass answers.