Y'all, something awful happened early Saturday morning, and I hope by sharing the story here I can save a few of you from living through the same horror in the days and weeks to come.
It was around 2 a.m. on Saturday. Actually, it was precisely 2:09 a.m. EDT Saturday. How do I recall the time so precisely, you ask? Ah, patience, my friends ... one must allow the story to unfold organically. Or electronically, as it were.
So, 2 a.m. I am as deeply asleep as it is possible to be when not dead and in a casket. Next thing I know, someone is firing off an air horn which they are balancing on my bedside table. Jake and I both simultaneously do that thing all parents do when they sense an emergency is afoot: you know, the full-body Exorcism-spin, kicking off the covers and jumping into Karate Kid positioning to avert whatever danger is near. While flailing for your glasses and adjusting your pajamas and determining if your breath can perhaps be used as a burglar deterrent if needed. Don't act like you don't know exactly what I'm talking about. You do. You know.
Then I realize that freakishly alarming noise is coming from my iPhone. So I simultaneously attempt to silence the air horn while determining what the hell has possessed the phone to launch this freaking fire drill in the middle of the night. I am decidedly not amused.
The first thing I see is "Amber" and my first thought is my friend from high school has tagged a "higher the hair closer to God" picture of me from a cheer competition and something has gone horribly wrong with Facebook notifications. Which isn't an unreasonable thought at that hour and 2 hours into a dose of Benadryl.
But upon further scrutiny, I discovered it actually said "Amber Alert." So, at 2:09 a.m EDT I received an Amber Alert from St. Mary's, Georgia. Which is 376 miles from my house. Really? Really? Really, how likely is it that a suburban woman on the other side of the state, wakened from a dead sleep, with poor eyesight and a foul attitude is going to be so helpful that she should be awakened in the middle of the night?
AT&T, I have but one question: What. The. Hell??
The next day, when the full "what in the name of all that is good and holy" hit me, I did a little research and discovered AT&T apparently thinks this is a very sensible plan. And therefore did a little auto-install on iPhone software with the automatic settings to receive Amber Alerts, Emergency Alerts and Presidential Alerts.
I figure in the very unlikely scenario that an Amber Alert awakened me in the middle of the night and I was able to assist in the capture of the kidnapper, I would most likely murder the perpetrator with my bare hands for waking me up (and, obviously, for stealing children). Therefore, I have elected to turn off the Amber Alert on my phone and save myself a prison sentence for murdering a kidnapping pedophile. (Incidentally, the child who was missing Saturday a.m. was located safe and sound. For which I am very thankful. I cannot imagine anything more horrifying than discovering your child isn't safe and sound any time of the day or night.)
For now, I am leaving the Emergency Alerts on just in case there is a very, very good reason I should be awakened in the middle of the night, like a tsunami (yes, I live in Atlanta, just roll with this line of thinking) or the Bubonic plague being distributed via rainclouds or some such. I am hopeful those in charge will use discretion, because if they start firing these things off because there was an earthquake on the Canadian border, well ... everyone will turn those off too.
I would also like to say I am not sure just exactly what these Presidential Alerts entail, and in no way is this a political statement. No, this is an equal-opportunity, non-partisan statement: it inflames me when the president interrupts regular programming to yammer about darn near anything that I can't be served just as well reading in the newspaper the next day. So, please, Mr. President, make it worth my while if you awaken me. Ever. Really, it needs to be summer-blockbuster-movie bad, and I pray this never happens.
So, anywho. This is a very long way to tell you if you (or your kids) have an iPhone 4S or 5, with AT&T, you might consider what your general attitude might be towards being awakened in the middle of the night for an emergency alert. If, like me, you decide your personal impact on the situation will be low and your general attitude poor, do the following:
Go to "Settings."
Click on "Notifications."
Scroll all the way down until you see "Amber Alerts" and "Emergency Alerts" and toggle anything you do not want to receive to "off."
If this saves just one person from thinking a bad picture has been posted of them on Facebook by a girl named Amber, then it's all been worth it.