Thursday, January 22, 2009


Even though last week's threat turned out to be just that, it was still taken seriously as it should have been. Some coworkers reported that they were first told to shut down their computers, gather their belongings, and go outside. Those same coworkers were told almost right away to forget about shutting down the computers and just gather their things and go outside. My group was told to lock up, take what was important and go outside.

Truly, it seems like the fifteen minutes it took to evacuate the building was a long time. Even with our instructions, we filed out without urgency and, at least, without panic. WAM, who only grabbed her coat at first, commented that she didn't hear there would be a drill. I told her I didn't think it was a drill, and she rushed back to her desk to get her bag. Some people were not allowed to go to their desk even for their coats, let alone personal belongings. One of those people is pregnant, and many stood there on the coldest day of the year without coats so she could have theirs.

In our dilatory march to the cold top of the parking garage, people were talking about how strange it was that we were ordered to do so. More than a few had expressed relief at having remembered to take their car keys, cell phones, and iPods.

That strikes me as an odd value to put on an mp3 player. Our safety was threatened, but at least we had our music. One of my coworkers couldn't live without her book. One of my friends could live without her cell phone. I chose to take my purse (containing keys, wallet, and cell phone) and my craft bag. I almost left the craft bag; it's really not worth my life. However, it had things in it that I would have to replace if something really happened. I guess I was thinking that my soon-to-be store was like my livelihood (it won't be, I'm sure) and therefore related things are important. It wasn't hard to stuff my small purse into the craft bag so it wasn't a burden to bring it. Also, inside that bag was a thumb drive that had a story I've been working on in downtime on it. That was a lot of the importance of that bag. I've lost stories before and it sucks. Sucks isn't a big enough word for it.

Still, that was what had value. If we were told to leave any faster, I either would have picked it up first, or I would have left it. I do know it's not worth my life. Just as the crystal on my desk, or some of my favorite origami models, or my impressive rubber band ball, or even the fact that my iPod was safely in my purse didn't get a thought.

Maybe things would have been different if evacuating was a bit more urgent. There was a fire alarm that went off not too long ago. I remember failing to grab anything for that. That's also why I remembered my purse (with keys) this time. No matter what people brought with them, the ability to get away in expensive property was important across the board. I won't argue with that.

Even so, it's interesting how minds work sometimes.

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