I left my classroom to pick up a few copies from the printer in the faculty workroom. I meandered down the hallway, reaching into my pocket for my keys to unlock the door. That’s when the ominous sound of my classroom door shutting behind me paralleled a sudden realization.
My keys were in the room.
I sprinted back, seized the door handle, and turned.
It was locked.
I looked through the small mesh window and saw my school keys, car keys, and cell phone all sitting on an empty student desk. I groaned inwardly and nearly started to laugh at my own stupidity – it was either that or to start crying.
I could still plainly hear the music – playing via my laptop through the wireless speaker system – blaring through the metal fry-sauce colored door. And play it would so continue doing…that is, until the laptop battery died.
Like most schools, each teacher’s room is keyed differently, and there are certain doors educators cannot unlock even if they did have their keys with them. I now had to be careful choosing which doors I went through, for certain pathways would limit my maneuverability. For starters, if I went down to the east end of the school, I’d have to pass through what I call the blast doors (which actually are fire doors). If I were to pass through them, my pathway would be limited to a single hallway with a set of bathrooms and two drinking fountains.
I carefully made my way around the school, checking doors – hoping to find a room with a phone. Not that a phone would have helped tremendously, as I only have three phone numbers memorized; one is my parents’ old landline that they had disconnected years ago, another is my own cell phone number (not much help in this particular situation), and the lastly is 911.
Now, no matter how trying it is being locked out of one’s classroom, I don’t think it warrants a call to the emergency services unless it includes being held at gunpoint, having a bomb strapped to your body, or being in the midst of a heart attack.
Unfortunately, I was not privy to any of those options. So in other words, I was doomed.
After the initial feeling of helplessness, I decided to carefully check the doors of the school to find one with a phone…the office, faculty room, other teachers’ classrooms; all were locked. However, I did have a bit of hope in the realization that I still had access to a drinking fountain and a bathroom if either need arose. And if I were to get too hungry, there was always the two trashcans in the hallway – one might even have some leftover Panda Express from the faculty luncheon after our meetings on Friday.
I was covered for survival.
I was just about to give up hope finding a phone, head outside, and walk the ¾ mile or so to one teacher’s house – after all, I was pretty sure I knew where she lived, and I could only hope that she’d be home, and have the necessary numbers I needed for the after-school coordinator, principal, or custodian. I put my hand on the library door, fully expecting nothing. After all, this door always seemed to be locked, sometimes even during school hours.
As the handle turned in my hand I felt a surge of relief wash through me as I made my way to the librarian’s desk and her two-line phone.
Now, I had nobody to call.
I sat for a forlorn minute or two, trying to formulate whom best to try to get a phone number for, and how to get it (there was no phone book). I finally decided to turn on one of the archaic computers and do an online search in the vain hope that I would be able to gain access to a phone number or two that would be of aid.
That’s when I saw the emergency information forms.
Someone had inadvertently left a handful of these forms on the library counter. I snatched them up – after all, this was most certainly an emergency.
I was in luck. The emergency contact of one of the student janitors was our librarian.
I dialed her number with a feeling of glee, only to learn that she and her family were up in Park City.
To make a long story short, she did have a few phone numbers at her disposal that I eagerly wrote down, and it was from there that I commenced on the great phone tag epic adventure which lasted much longer than I’d have liked. However, one teacher had another teacher’s number who most assuredly had a key that would open any other teacher’s classroom in the school; she made the call for me, and I called her back a few minutes later to learn of the possibility of said educator coming to my aid.
About ten minutes later I found myself rescued by this teacher, and was once-again in the sanctuary of my own classroom; music blaring around me via my laptop and wireless speakers.
I snatched up my cell phone and keys, putting them in my pockets.
I headed down to pick up the copies from the printer.
It was out of paper.