April 2018

Friday, May 14, 2010

NL #20: False alarms

NL #20: Spring brings blooming flowers in the world and false fire alarms in large high schools. Alarms go off so often that we're all pretty casual about them. When Ann and I were teaching at a suburban school, a colleague, interrupted during her planning period for the second time that week, hid under her desk instead of evacuating. The firepeople took longer than usual for the all-clear and finally the marshall escorted Laura out.

After my sister's brain surgery (no tumor: head meets asphault), she used henna to dye her hair. Like our Grandmother E., she's turning white early. When we were in the kitchen that morning, I looked up to see thick red trickling from her ear. I asked her to sit down and told her she was bleeding from her ear. I was pale. She laughed. I didn't have breakfast that morning as I felt sick to my stomach.

When I was recovering from my own brain surgery in the ICU, I was hooked to some tube that didn't like me to bend my arm. I was also attached to a machine that did a panicked beeping whenever I bent my arm, which was every time I started to fall asleep. Finally, a nurse told me how to turn the alarm off and told me not to tell anyone she had told me. When I was out of the ICU, but still recovering, I shared a room with a very sick, elderly church lady who was attached to one of those alarms. Every time she tried to stand up, which was often, the alarm went off and she got a lecture. "Shit," she'd say. I sympathized.

My father, who feared that his children would get into serious trouble, tended to overstate dangers. When I moved from NC to TX, he told me that if I didn't change my licence plates immediately, those cowboy police in Dallas would "throw you in jail. They'll throw you under the jail." My department chair, impressed by how quickly I changed my plates, said that I had gotten new plates sooner than anyone she had ever seen.

So if you cry, "Danger!" don't be surprised if I finish my blog before I waddle out. I've had too much practice with false alarms.


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