It was the first fire drill of the year. The fire alarm sounded and the teacher, Mrs. Dietrich, lined us up at the door. I was next to last with my friend Doug behind me. After we all were ready, the teacher opened the door and told us to follow the person in front of us. Then we filed out the door into the hall. Things went well until we reached the main hallway. With two classes each of Kindergarten through third grade, a lot of kids filled up the place, all of them bigger than me - and taller. Pushing and shoving the students mingled together and not being able to see over anyone, I got lost among the crowd. My friend and I were left standing still in a hall full of people, all seemingly going different directions.
Knowing there was no way to find my class, I said to Doug that if the building was on fire the most important thing was to get out, not find our classmates. He agreed. So, we fell in line with the nearest class and followed them out the door. Several minutes later (longer than usual I discovered), the bell rang to let us know we could return to our classrooms. Feeling proud of ourselves for solving our problem and finding our way safely out of the building, my friend and I returned to our class. The instant we walked in, we knew we were in trouble. The look on the Mrs. Dietrich’s face told us she was upset before she even spoke. When she did speak, it was to tell us to report to the Principal’s Office immediately. We did, but all the way, I was wondering what exactly the problem was. We had gotten out of the building. And, we had returned safe and sound to class.
Arriving at the Principal’s Office, he enlightened me. We suffered through a short lecture about how the school was responsible for our well-being and how when we weren’t present for roll call with our class it was cause for alarm – and not just a fire alarm. Mrs. Dietrich had reported us as missing and that was the reason for the extended stay outside. He said if this had been an actual fire, we could have endangered the lives of the firemen who would have had to come look for us. I think the idea was to either make us feel bad or scared - perhaps both.
Always willing to argue the finer points of logic, even at age five, I finally spoke up. I explained that we’d become lost and couldn’t see over the bigger kids. And that since we couldn’t find our classmates we’d followed the other class outside. I also pointed out that this wasn’t an actual fire so, even if we hadn’t gotten out of the school we would have been safe. The Principal wasn’t impressed. I then played my trump card. If my teacher had reported us as missing because we weren’t present for roll call, why hadn’t they immediately figured out where we were when the other teacher reported two extra kids with her class? I still remember the look on the Principal’s face as he told us to return to class.
I heard later that the other teacher had gotten in a little hot water for not discovering us with her group. It hadn’t been my intention to get her in trouble – just to get me out of trouble. Still, I was a bit amused by it all. Over the years, I was sent to the Principal’s Office many more times, some deserved some undeserved. Thanks to the practice I’d had in Kindergarten, I argued every single time – usually successfully. The last time I made my grand entrance was my final year of High School. I had taken the liberty of retrieving some personal property from the trash. Personal property that the teacher had thrown away. It wasn’t even mine but I didn’t think the teacher should have taken the perfume from the girl so I marched right into the teacher’s lounge and took it back.
How was I able to get inside the teacher’s lounge? It was easy; I waited until everyone else was outside - for a fire drill.
Bruce A. Borders, author and songwriter has over 500 songs and 9 books. Over My Dead Body, and The Journey, his latest books, are available on Apple I-Pad®, Amazon Kindle®, Barnes & Noble Nook® and Sony Reader®, Kobo, Diesel Books, and Smashwords. For more information, visit www.bruceaborders.com. See Bruce’s Amazon Author Page at www.amazon.com/author/bruceaborders or view his Smashwords Profile at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/BruceABorders