She’s not a girl who misses much
Just before 2 pm, as our entire department was heading into a meeting, a voice came on over the loudspeaker informing us that there was someone outside the building with a gun and could we please move away from the windows. I work well above street level, so no one was too concerned. We all stood in the corridors chatting between the rows of cubicles as the security announcements came thick and fast. The person with the gun was a woman. She was on this corner. No, on that corner. Police were on their way.
“Follow emergency situation procedures!”
What did this mean? The only procedures we knew involved walking down the stairs and outside the building to meet on a street corner. We’d just practiced this at a fire drill a couple of weeks ago. But if we were supposed to avoid the windows, surely we weren’t supposed to go outside?
We stood collectively scratching our heads until they finally came back on over the loudspeaker to tell us that the person with the gun had turned out to be a plainclothes policewoman, a fact apparenty determined after she was completely surrounded by armed, uniformed cops. D’oh! And it was back to business as usual.
Still, I’m not sure all those people with guns outside make me feel any safer.
* * * * *
The rest of the afternoon was spent fretting about one of my toys, which is taking longer to manufacture than expected. We are considering slight alterations in design. I do not know how it will turn out, but everyone is worried.
I also spent a good chunk of time printing out applications I need to assess for an award my department is giving. It is hundreds and hundreds of pages. I am wondering where I’ll find the time. I read one on the subway going home instead of reading about Jonathan Richman and the Ramones and Patti Smith and Philip Glass in Will Hermes’ Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, which is a densely fact-packed family tree of the NY music scene of the 1970s and a very fun read.
I like reading on the subway sometimes, because I can shut out everything else (at the occasional risk of sailing past my stop). But these days I read so much, I see so much, I hear so much, that sometimes I just want to stand there doing nothing for the 40 minutes it takes me to go between work and home, just to have a little nothingness in my head for three quarters of an hour.