So, I was talking to my mother the nurse tonight and we were comparing notes on our day. And it dawned on me, even when I hit frustrations at work or things I wish I could change, at least no lives hang in the balance. Thank goodness for that! Paper cuts seem to be the only physical job hazard that I face on a daily basis.
However, there have been times of high danger in my safe little corner of the publishing universe. I shall count them down for you in proper Friends fashion in order of how many heart palpitations I had…
3. The time I got stuck at work. Colorado is mostly known for its snow, right? And sunshine-y days? And mountainous terrain? And skiing? And the best football team ever? It’s not really known for its rain. I think that’s Washington state’s territory. But one afternoon last year, the rain started to really come down. Now usually, the faster it comes down the shorter the amount of time that it lasts. This time, though, the rain kept coming. And coming. And coming. I was working a bit late on a project, as I remember it, and my boss was the only other one in our department. As I wandered into her office (my cubicle, sadly, does not support a window and the powers-that-be frown on cutting through partition walls…) I noticed that there was an Armageddon of watery proportions going on outside. Sidewalks were transformed to rivers. Cars were stranded on roads that had turned into lakes. And lawns resembled marsh land. It got to the point that I could see that I wasn’t going to be able to get anywhere until the water subsided a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about staying late at work when the workload calls for it but images of a cot set up in my cubicle gave me serious anxiety. When I finally felt comfortable attempting to leave, I ran into closed roads, stuck cars, and much debris wreaking havoc on my normally pleasant drive home. Thankfully, slow and steady won the race and I lived to tell about it.
2. The time I got a reverse 911 call. It was a normal day at work, except for the fact that the Black Forest fire was growing in speed and strength and gobbling everything up in its path. I remember walking downstairs to mail a package of books (what else?) and running into a lady that worked in another office downstairs. With wild eyes, she told me that authorities were evacuating areas near to us. She had a British accent, so I’m pretty sure living in the UK with all its tea and crumpets had not prepared to her live in these kinds of conditions. I was mildly concerned, so I walked upstairs and relayed her comments to my boss. She dismissed wild-eyed British lady’s account of the situation and her calm made me feel much better about the situation. UNTIL. Until. My phone and every other phone in the office started ringing. I picked up the receiver only to have an automated 911 message telling us to evacuate. Though I never, NEVER would have wanted this to happen – people lost their lives and so many people lost their homes and our beautiful city was scarred forever – we did get two days off of work because of being in the evacuation zone. A lot of us hung out together at my friend Ashley’s house and watched the news and prayed for rain and the firefighters’ safety. It was a weird week, but at the very least the company was good and the snacks were fantastic. And the fire got put out, so that was most important.
1. The time I called 911. I was running late getting a package ready to ship out to a contest winner when our normal UPS pick-up guy walked in. I scrambled to finish up (darn my over-taping tendencies! I blame my Nana) and threw a “would you mind waiting a second?” to him over my shoulder. I expected a “sure” but what I got was “Actually, I’m feeling really weird. My heart is beating really fast and I’m concerned about it. Would you call 911 for me?” I promptly re-prioritized my tasks–lifesaving call first, contest winner’s package second– and headed to the front reception desk to call 911. That was my first time, folks, and my heart was beating really fast at that point, too. The 911 call operator was great and dispatched all the emergency vehicles to us. I helped the UPS guy down the stairs (which I guess you’re not really supposed to do) and the firefighters whisked him away to check his vitals and assess the situation. I kept my distance because up until this point the UPS guy and I were not very close, but I’m happy to report that he was given a clean bill of health and is still our UPS guy. Oh, and the contest winner got their prize. I know you were worried about that.