It could have gone better.
The day was bad enough. A two-hour corporate Nuremburg Rally with pre-positioned questions and carefully worded answers. Clap clap clap. I have a bunch of things I need to do yet I’m sliding backwards as interruptions hit me like bugs across a windshield. At 2pm, I decided I couldn’t attend the train club – I’d have to work. Then, at 4:30 all hell broke loose.
First it was the gust off a squall line that actually shook the building – not something good to experience on the 14th floor. Looked out the window to see leaves and litter flying skyward, yeah, way up here. And over towards downtown, a huge back downpour. Already you could see sections of lights going out. Reminded me of the final sky-battle scene in Indigo.
Then, an intercom call that the 10th floor should evacuate. Everyone exchanges slow glances.
Then another call. The 11th floor should evacuate. This is how they do it for drills, evacuate one floor at a time.
Should we go?
Nothing after that. I go over to the primary receptionist who’d made the overheads but she’s gone – its quitting time. Rrrreeee! screams the Flintstone’s bird. “Yaaaba dabba doooo!”
Except, don’t you think you might stay at your post if you were directing the evacuation of your building from calls received from Building Management?
So we’re all standing around, wondering what to do and someone comes up and says, “There is a fire truck out front and we’ve got smoke on 10 and 11.”
So that’s it for today. We’re all leaving now. My boss is a member of the response team and we make a sweep of the floor and kick everyone out. And there is a big move towards… where? Of course, the elevators!
I’m pretty much the only guy who hangs back and says, “Um, gee, shouldn’t we take the stairs? I mean, there might be two flights engulfed in flames and we’d be riding into the oven like muffins.” But everyone laughed it off and even though I knew it was wrong, stupid, dangerous, and perhaps deadly, I rode down with them. Even through the elevator smelled of smoke. Yes, right down the hellshaft.
As I am typing this, one can assume I survived.
But then again, my building has meetings and binders and contingency plans and even responder’s vests. They have even run scenarios of what to do when there is an earthquake. And what happens when we have our first bonafide dangerous situation?
We looked like the firemen in an old silent movie, falling off the speeding truck to a quick-paced piano score.