Tell us about a time you were waiting nervously for something.
A time? I can think of 64 times (more or less) that I waited nervously for something: the monthly fire drill at school.
I understand the need for fire drills. Yesterday was the 63rd anniversary of the Our Lady Of The Angels School fire, where, due to lack of proper preparation and instruction, 82 children and 3 nuns perished. It led to a complete overhaul of the standards set by the school and the fire department. For one thing, it led to fire alarms being routed from schools immediately to the nearest fire station. For another, once a month, a lieutenant of the Chicago Fire Department would show up, and within half an hour, the fire alarm would sound and we would all demonstrate how well we walked out of the building and onto Loyola Avenue or Lakewood Avenue, well out of the path of fire trucks showing up.
I had no problem with the intention. I hated the bell. It was a very loud buzzer that would start out of nowhere and startle me. Which, when you come right down to it, was exactly what it was supposed to do. It probably wouldn’t bother me much if they just got on with it and sounded the alarm, but if it was cold out (which it was half the year), the principal would announce that we would be having a fire drill and that we should put on our coats. Then, it seemed to take an eternity, because the kids in the lower grades would take forever to get their coats on. I’d be sitting there, palms sweating, chewing at my nails (which on more than one occasion led to painful hangnails), waiting for the damn fire alarm.
In eighth grade, two guys were designated to assist the lieutenant. I always knew we were going to have a fire drill when they left the room. I wanted the job of the guy that turned off the connection to the fire department, then turned it back on and reset the system. The connnection was under the stage in the theater, where the fire alarm was inaudible…
When I got to high school, they had the same fire alarms. The difference was there was no way we could see the Fire Department officer, so we didn’t know it was coming. It didn’t bother me then….