After receiving news the kids would be out of school again today – their fifth day missed in a row, I tried to write a blog post about something, anything other than my declining mental health due to snow days. I couldn’t do it. No matter what subject I tackled I ended up back on a description of my now, mush-like brain (really, I’m truly losing it) or a rant about why our city can’t seem to clear our roads enough to get school buses into neighborhoods (I mean what’s the problem? We don’t live in the Deep South. We do get snow each year. Why are the roads still not drivable? Why are my kids still home? Why must the American Academy of Pediatrics have such strict guidelines for how much TV kids should watch?).
See what I mean?
So I asked (begged) my brother, Casey, to write something as a guest blogger. I thought maybe he could come up with something inspirational and thought-provoking. He so kindly agreed and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I needed a fresh perspective on this winter. I needed something to inspire me like his last guest post, A-Train Angel.
This is what he sent me …
Sometimes ceilings cave in . . .
. . . but more often, they don’t. It’s less interesting when they don’t. Yesterday the ceiling where I work was thinking about caving in. We got so much snow last week that it was too heavy for the roof. It’s a one-story building with a flat roof, so if the roof collapsed, everyone there would have noticed. Because of how it would have been on top of us. We could see some panels buckling in around late morning, then some very important roof experts came in. After staring solemnly at the ceiling for a while, they were able to determine that, yes, it might fall in and we were all facing impending smushedness. It was awesome.
I don’t think it’s great when disasters actually happen to people, especially to me. But the knowledge that something dangerous could happen has always given me a feeling of giddy dread and anticipation. I remember once in elementary school, there was a tornado warning and everyone had to sit in the hallway. Because we were all in trouble for not having done more to prevent the tornado. (Not really – it was more to get away from windows.) I remember some kids actually crying because they were so scared. But I was just so thrilled the entire time, and not just because we were out of class. I loved the feeling that something potentially big and hazardous might be on its way. I realize that actual disasters are in no way fun, and I know I wouldn’t enjoy them. But knowing that there could be one – it just made everything feel more real and important.
That’s how I felt yesterday while working under the threat of the ceiling falling on me. Most people were evacuated from the building and got to go home, but the people in my unit had to stay until we could transfer operations to another building. That’s the price we pay for being “essential personnel.” (I put that phrase in quotes not to imply that I think we should have been sent home. I get why we had to keep working. I just didn’t want it to seem like I was using my own words there. I don’t want it to be like, “Man, Casey’s arrogant. Always thinking he’s so essential.”)
I was kind of disappointed when we finally were evacuated to another building with a more trustworthy roof. It’s not that I wanted anything bad to happen to me or my co-workers. But the thought that maybe some of the ceiling might come down, and maybe we might be trapped and have to find some way out, possibly through some kind of hidden passageways that the collapse would uncover, and maybe it would turn into an awesome adventure, one in which we might discover a pirate ship at the end like the Goonies did – that thought was very exciting. Back in a safe building, everything felt so mundane and insignificant. I kept hoping we would hear that there was something treacherous about this new building – maybe there were random puddles of quicksand seeping up from cracks in the floor, or the walls were on the verge of imploding. But no such luck. It was sad realizing that there was now no possibility of discovering a pirate ship before the end of the day. For a while, I went around asking people if they’d heard about the angry leprechaun who might be loose in the building, just to try to create some buzz. No one was having it. (I’m going to feel bad, though, if someday there is an angry leprechaun and no one takes the danger seriously because of my lies.)