Friday, November 05, 2010

Fire Drilled

This has been one tough week at work.  No matter how hard I work, the assignments continue to flood my inbox as fast as I can crank them out, so you can imagine how dismayed I was yesterday afternoon when the fire alarm went off in our building.  A booming voice came over the loudspeakers and assured everyone that this was only a drill.  Immediately people started to get up from their desks and confer with one another.  Does this mean we have to exit the building?  Normally they warn us the morning of fire drills via email.  They also threaten to fine us if we don't comply with the drill procedure and meet outside on a particular street corner so everyone could be accounted for. 

Today there was no warning, and I hesitated to leave my desk, knowing how much work was looming over me.  Would I really get fined?  Or fired?  Not likely, but the rule follower in me felt compelled to grab my jacket and down the 19 flights of stairs I went.  They close the elevators down for these stupid drills.  Ugh.  As soon as I started down the staircase I realized I had to pee.  Why oh why hadn't I gone a half an hour an ago when I needed to?  Now here I was being herded like cattle down the stairwell, getting dizzy from circling round and round 38 times (2 flights of stairs per floor) and it would be who-knows-how-long before we'd be able to return.  Once we finally reached the great outdoors, down to our specified corner we marched.  I am thankful I wore my jacket.  Others were not so insightful to think to put theirs on as it was chilly and windy.

Once we got the all-clear, hundreds of employees all started hovering around the two sets of doors into the building, and then once inside, we made our way towards the elevators.  Have you ever seen so many people eager to get back to work? I remarked aloud.  It really was quite humorous.  You'd think we'd all be grateful for a paid break in our daily activities, but instead it seemed people couldn't get back inside fast enough.  Maybe it was because like me, they'd been too busy to pee and were now paying the price.  I pushed my way to the front and got on one of the first elevators, making a pit-stop at the bathroom before getting back to work.

I'd say this was a learning experience for me, and that now it's been (fire) drilled into my brain:  when you gotta go, you gotta go.  The work can wait.  Other things can't.

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