Friday, October 12, 2007

Save Yourself!

I have sometimes wondered, as a single person living away from home and working so detached from people as I do, how long it would take for someone to notice if I disappeared. I've concluded it would take at least two or three days. While there are some people I do talk to everyday (namely my mother, and usually Fran), it would take them at least 48 hours to realize they haven't heard from me. For example, I usually call my mom on my way home from work, at least to say hi. Sometimes we talk for five minutes, sometimes it's an hour. I recently didn't call her at all on Sunday or Monday, so Tuesday morning she called just to make sure I was okay. It's nice to know someone cares.

My roommates would probably be the ones to find my body. But since there are days on end we don't see each other, it would likely be three or four days before they realize they haven't seen my lights on/off or music coming from my room. Or more dishes in the sink.

Since I don't work with any one person every day, it would probably take a week for anyone here to miss me. The people in my building would probably assume that I was working somewhere offsite, and teachers who don't get their order when they want usually wait at least a week before they ask again. My administrative assistant (in my boss' building) would probably notice when I hadn't reported my hours.

When you have a lot of time to yourself, you think of these things. I also discussed it with some friends one night, so it's not like I'm the only one who wonders.

This morning, part of this fear was realized. I was sitting at my desk, working and chatting with Reimsy when I noticed there were a few random people gathered in the parking lot. I could see about 5 or 6 people from various departments milling about.

11:09 AM me: There are many of the people in my building just standing in the parking lot. Did I miss something?
Lindsay: was there an alarm?
me: I didn't hear one . . .
11:10 AM And I don't think everyone is out there. . .
Lindsay: weird
11:11 AM maybe it's some training thing for them
me: maybe
Lindsay: you could always stick your head out the window and ask
what are they doing out there?
just standing around?
me: yes
some are on the phone, or leaning on the cars.
just generally not inside the building
11:12 AM and it's people from multiple departments, so training doesn't make much sense either.
I am so disconnected in here . . .
11:13 AM Lindsay: is there a window you can yell out of?
me: it won't open all the way, so no

I finally grabbed my jacket to go ask what was going on. As I passed my larger window, I saw that it was actually EVERYONE from my building, not just a few. When I got to the hall, I finally smelled smoke. This was no drill.

Once I got outside and across the parking, everyone was so apologetic for forgetting me. "I passed your door, but I assumed you'd know." "I'll post a sticky note to remind myself to check on you next time." And so on. We laughed about it, and since there was no obviously raging fire, it wasn't too serious. We waited for the fire department to come and find out that there was an electrical problem with one of the light fixtures. (PS - Some of those firemen were cute! Way cuter than anyone in my building.)

Twenty minutes later, I was finally back and able to tell Reimsy about what happened. We were both relieved that it wasn't more serious, or that I wasn't shelving or something and hadn't looked out the window. I'm sure I would have noticed once the fire trucks arrived, but what if had been too late!?

Maybe I shouldn't be alone so much . . .


Nancy said...

Kinda morbid...thanks.

I'd notice if you'd gone missing but all I'd be able to do is post a comment on your blog saying, "Hello, I need updates, girl!"

I'm not sure how helpful that would be really...

Heidi said...

If I hadn't heard from you in any 12-hour period, and you hadn't said anything like "I'm flying to Europe", I would check on you. :) I would HOPE it would take me much less than 48 hours!