Last week I wrote up a post about a fire drill at our school. This prompted my sister to comment about how there just must be something about me and fire alarms. She was referring to a tale I thought had well been buried over by the passage of time. Nope, little sis had to remind me. I guess that's what sisters are for. Anyhow, to entertain my sister, embarrass myself and set the record straight all in one fell swoop (and because I know I'll NEVER live this down) I recount the event at my peril.
I forget how old I was, probably 13 or so. Anyhow, I was helping my step-father one summer re-tile one of the portables at one of my old elementary schools. My step-father had to leave for a few minutes to pick up something or see another client (I'm not sure which) and despite his warnings to "be good" because "I'll be back in a few minutes", I decided to poke around a bit. I mean really, how many times do you get to be inside a school during summer break. In my youthfulness, I felt like I owned the place. I could do handstands right in the middle of that portable and no teacher was around to tell me to act sensibly.
Anyhow, it didn't take me long to notice the fire alarm on the wall. Gee....I wonder? Most fire alarms I remember from youth had these little glass bars in them that I presumed would break once the lever was pulled down. In this particular alarm, though, I noticed the little glass bar I expected to see there was missing. HMMMMMM? I wonder what would happen......would it still work? Impossible! It was summer afterall. Should I satisfy my curiosity once and for all? What possible harm could that do? I debated with myself. Nah, I'm sure it's harmless. Slowly I stepped toward the little red beacon on the wall and tempted fate.
Damn! Did that little thing ever make some racket! The resulting bell scared me half out of my wits! After I calmed down a bit it dawned on me. How the heck am going to shut this blasted thing off before my step-father gets back here? To my horror and growing panic, I realized this was impossible. What to do now? Well, I did the only sensible thing I could think of - a very brave thing. I ran away. I beat it home (breaking a land speed record in the process I'm sure), ran into my bedroom.....and hid under my bed.
A few minutes passed by and my step-dad came home. There is no worse feeling as a kid knowing you did something wrong and that you know that your parents know. I was soooo busted. I remember my step-father coming down the stairs to my room and then his voice, "Darcy, is there something I should know?"
Luckily, being the perfect child that I was, I think I got off pretty light. Looking back, I can count myself lucky I wasn't charged with mischief or causing a public disturbance (or beaten with a big sitck for that matter.) A quick call to a school custodian brought an end to the screeching alarm and I was left with the helpful realization that when a parent tells you not to touch something, its a really REALLY good idea to pay attention and listen.
The man with the long teeth
5 days ago