Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Don't Try This At Home
A few days ago I was reading a friend's blog and was reminded of an incident that happened to me my freshman year of college. It is a memory that I had successfully pushed to the back of my mind. Until the blog. But then I thought, maybe the story could bring comfort to another soul as, dare I say the word, stupid, as me. So without further ado, let me go on with the story.
It was a quiet Wednesday morning in the pink infested dorm of Waldock. The clock showed 6:45 or so. I knew two things: 1.) I wanted to drink some chai tea. 2.) I needed to do some sit-ups. The freshman 15 was already showing it's effects.
I just happened to have some chai tea mix and there was a microwave conveniently located near the stairs right outside our wing's hallway. I thought, "Perfect! I can heat up the water while I do my sit-ups!" So I preceded with my plan. After I completed my first set of sit-ups, I walked out the door, down the hall and opened the door to the stairway area. As soon as I opened the door a thick wall of smoke hit me. I looked toward the microwave and noticed that smoke was pouring out of the microwave vent!
Again, not using my brain, I ran back to my room yelling my roommate's name, "Christine! Christine!" I don't even think I could get words out to explain what was wrong...but from the look of terror on my face and my crazy, flailing arms, she managed to decipher my desire for her to follow me, and, being the calm and collected person she is, she walked up to the microwave and turned it off. It was at this time that the fire alarms chose to go off. That's right my friends. The ENTIRE dorm...all 80 girls...had to evacuate. At around 7:05 in the morning. A chapel morning. Which meant that basically everyone but the slackers were awake and that pretty much ALL of the showers were occupied.
I blame it on my early morning state. When I first wake up, I can't even button my clothes correctly or untie a bow without making a knot, let alone muster enough brain cells to think not to put metal in the microwave. Yes, indeed, I had put my metal coffee thermos thing in the microwave. Something that Kindergarteners learn not to do. For awhile I entertained the idea that maybe we really wouldn't have to evacuate. I mean, after all, I knew it was just my coffee thermos. Nothing harmful about that...there was no serious fire. But then our R.D. came onto the hall and said that we all had to exit to the lawn in front of the dorm...the supposed...fire expert...man that came said that the fumes from the rubber exterior of the thermos may be toxic!
As I watched girl after girl filing out of the bathroom with shampoo in their hair and wet pajamas, the comments began to roll in. "Who was stupid enough to put metal in the microwave?" "I can't believe it! I was in the middle of a shower!" "Where's the moron?!!!" and other like retorts were spewed forth right and left. Terror and panic turned to utter humiliation.
After five minutes that felt like five days we were all out on the lawn...and the condescending fire man slowly exited the building holding my charred and melted coffee thermos with a tongs-like apparatus. He asked who it belonged to. I witnessed 158 eyes scanning the crowd. My two eyes were glued to what remained of my coffee thermos. The one my dad had bought me for my 18th birthday. My hand did not move an inch and my lips did not allow a single breath to escape. He went on to say that if I didn't claim it, he would trash it. What did the man think??? That I wanted a trophy of my idiocy resting on my dormroom desk??? Did he think I would actually use it again for its intended purpose??? Finally he got the hint and walked away with a reminder of one of the first rules our mothers teach us.
But the humiliation didn't end there. Those angry, soapy, shampooey Waldockians wanted answers! Who were they to blame for their ruined Wednesday morning? I refused to answer until one of my friends that I had since high school, HIGH SCHOOL, made some comment about her grandmother saying that my appalling action was one of the dumbest mistakes young people can make. It was something along those lines. I couldn't take it anymore. "I did it! Okay?!! It was me! So thanks for all your comments!" I said something like that. Then, since the toxic fumes had apparently evaporated and we were allowed back in the dorm, I ran up the stairs and into my room and I did what any normal mortified freshman girl would logically do; I cried. In walked one of the senior girls. She was just laughing and tried to sympathize a bit, but it didn't really work. She left and then my R.A. walked in. My R.A. was great. She was very good at showing freshmen the ropes. She gave me a hug and told me that one day I would laugh about it. I didn't believe her. I wasn't laughing when I went down to chapel and girls were still trying to find out who did it. I wasn't laughing when the girl who owned the demolished microwave said that I needed to pay up. But...she was right. I laugh now whenever a friend brings up that story..."remember when you..." and I laugh when someone tells me that they just told one of their relatives about "that time when I..." and, I must admit, I am thankful for a story I can tell the "grandkids" someday.