Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Keys to the Kingdom

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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.

Eventual success.

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.

Lesson learned.

I headed down to pick up the copies from the printer.

It was out of paper.


Scott McCray said...

Wasn't a bit funny at the time - but good for a chuckle in retrospect. Thanks for sharing (it proves that CRS is universal).

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Hey, what more do u want??? u got your keys and phone! lol... maybe it was out of paper cuz the printer wasn't workin'?

Mamma has spoken said...

That was funny in a 'Oh I'm so sorry' sort of way.
Good thing about the school I work at: My BFF who happens to work there too, lives across the street!

Cherie said...

GREAT story! Sounds totally like something I would do!
I thought that there were always janitors around the school with keys to everything - When I was a kid I always thought the janitors were kinda creepy...they seemed to be everywhere!

Carrie Stuart said...

Great post...I was feeling lost right along with you! Hope you got your copies eventually.

Kristina P. said...

Is it wrong that I chuckled?

Janett said...

You are one of my favorite humans! Thanks for the laugh. Glad it all worked out for ya!

Linn said...

Great post. You made me laugh, once again.

Joan said...

Of course it was out of paper. You were asking too much.

I always keep my door propped open when I'm working.

Cheeseboy said...

Oh man Jason, I can only imagine how nasty and rotten that Panda Express would have been. I can barely swallow that orange chicken when it is "fresh".

Glad you got back in though. Although you could have just blogged: "HELP" and someone would have saved you.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Wow. I NEED you to come teach at my school. PLEASE. I need someone to do this at my school, because? USUALLY IT IS ME!!

Amy said...

I believe this all happened to you because you were at a loss of what to blog about. Correct?

Glad you found a pretty quick fix!

Emmy said...

Okay the paper being gone is just like a slap in the face. Glad soneone was able to help... And hey at least it made for goid blogging material :)

Natasha said...

Oh, man. "there was always the two trashcans in the hallway"- Love it!
(Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George ate out of the trash can).

And you were asking too much for the printer to have paper! Glad you finally got back in though.

woman:confused said...

I was half expecting the music on your computer to be one of the following from random itunes:

Miley Cyrus
Lil Wayne (or someone equally atrocious)
Some unknown artists' porn-sounding mix (from free tunes tuesday)
Justin Beiber

Really, I don't have any of those on MY iTunes (really! I promise!) but other people seem to...

Sounds like quite the adventure - let the school games begin!

Crustacean Queen said...


Anonymous said...

Has happened to all of us, right? Ugh. I keep my keys on my lanyard all the time for situations like this. Although, our rooms don't lock behind us unless we've locked them ourselves, so I've got it a bit easier than you on that one. For me, it's just remembering to bring my classroom key to school on weekends when I come because my key to the front door is kept on my regular keychain. I've gotten to school before only to find that I can't get into my classroom at all, and man, that's the pits! Glad you found relief.

Connie said...

Great post! I was feeling your pain! We've all been there.
Our copy machine is always out of paper!

btw, isn't it kind of creepy to be in the school all by yourself? My imagination runs wild and I hear things that probably aren't there!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Laughed when I read about the paper.

When my husband and I were going to school, we drove around his parents really, really, really, old, beat up car that only had ONE key for it. And since I drove it around most of the time he was always telling and reminding me not to lock the keys in the car.

One day, he had taken the car when I got a phone call. "Uh... I sort of locked the keys in the car...."

Haha. I wouldn't let him live that one down for a looooong time. :D

Farscaper said...

(Homer Simpson) DOH!!

I'm so scared of doing that very thing when I'm making copies at the church late on a Saturday night. As someone else stated... it's scary and I hear things... like people in the building with me when I'm all by myself. I hate being in big buildings at night alone...

Keep those dang keys around your neck or tethered to your belt.

MindyElias said...

I can't believe this is my 3rd year of hearing about the amazing
5th graders.......unbelievable!

As a very wise woman once said, "“Those fifth graders only have one first day of fifth grade. You only have one first day of your (what did we figure out???)
11th year of cool is that?”

I hope you have TONS of butterflies :)


Shannon said...

Oh Mr. Z - I'm so very glad you didn't have to hit the trash cans up for a snack. Happy to hear you made it out alive!

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Is it wrong that I'm laughing at your pain?

tiburon said...

Are we still friends if I am laughing at you a little bit?

Although I know that feeling just as the door is closing when your mind realizes exactly what you are doing and it is all too late.

I really enjoy reading about your pain...

tammy said...

I was so worried there for a minute. I've had old Panda Express before. It didn't end well.

M-Cat said...

I got so distracted at Panda Express that I had to start the story all over again!

Um - no...not lauging at ALL!

Dude - I have done the same thing so many times it's sick.

Bee said...

It's probably a sad thing for me to admit this, but I've been there, several times...

Quit staying so late, Mr. Z.!

mywest said...

Brings back bad least I had car keys to drive and pickup another key...

Kathy V said...

I went through a very similar routine with my sister when I was helping her move schools. We made a bunch of phone calls and walked through the neighborhood trying to remember where a particular teacher lived -- who ended up not being home. I feel sorry for the teachers who live close to their school. These experiences just add variety to our days, eh?

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