This past week saw many schools open their doors to a new class of students. The church where I work was no exception; admitting infants, toddlers, and children up to four years old back into the cavernous stone-walled echo chamber where I crunch numbers and try to concentrate. The kids are adorable, and I love to see them play outside. The teachers try to instill courtesy in their little charges as they walk from classroom to outdoor space to chapel by mimicking the “quiet behavior” of pressing a finger against the lips so sound doesn’t escape. It doesn’t always work, but I give them an A for effort.
On the first day of school one little preschooler couldn’t resist the pull of the fire alarm. Literally. This happens every year, but never on the inaugural day. As I worked in my zen-like office, filled with candles and ambient lighting to remind me to not stress, I glanced up from my desk and saw the flash of light on the ceiling that indicates the fire alarm has been triggered. I heard a dim siren from down the hallway and thanked the gods of faulty wiring that the alarm wasn’t going to blast my ear like it always does. As my arms raised to put my fingers in said ears, the alarm blast sounded in my office and nearly shook me from my chair (a slight exaggeration, but the siren must cause damage to my eardrums). I don’t know why the alarm didn’t trigger at all the sound stations at the same time, but I was grateful for the two-second warning.
I walked with an awkward gait through the beautiful echo chamber where a fire siren finds even more vibrancy as it bounces from stone wall to terrazzo floor and into our ears. The awkward pose came from moving my legs while hugging my phone to my body (no pockets) because my hands had to cover my ears. I finally made it to the courtyard where children had already evacuated their classrooms and got early jungle gym time under the large oak trees. My coworkers and I laughed at having yet another false alarm due to intrigued young minds who use the scientific method to find out what exactly a fire pull does. I could enjoy a laugh because someone else on staff now has to interface with the fire department—it used to be my job and it caused me major stress. Thus the need for a zen den of an office.
Welcome back to school. We can now check off the preschool compulsion to pull the little red thingy and enjoy our work days in relative quiet.