So I went to my office this afternoon to take care of a few things for the week’s classes and a committee meeting tomorrow. Sunday afternoons tend to work well for that sort of thing. I usually have the building pretty much to myself, and since most of my music collection is there, I can listen to some of my favorite music at a volume that might grate on my neighbors during the work week.
I had been there about an hour and a half when I heard a set of building doors opening, followed by the voices of a bunch of little girls, with older voices directing them up to the third floor. I didn’t stick my head out of my office, but I heard the kids clomping up the stairs, their tread fading as they ascended. So I got back to work.
About 45 minutes or so later, my phone blatted at me. It turned out that an arm of Tropical Storm Nate had apparently flung a heavy thunderstorm our way, and Mondoville had gone under a tornado warning. I called the Spawn and told her to get to the concrete furnace room/hobo meat curing area, and the sirens downtown were going by the time I hung up.
Because I have a voice that can stun a police dog, I called up the stairwell and told whoever was up there to come down to my hallway immediately — it’s a designated shelter area for the building. A couple of young women from a sorority were in the stairwell and told me they had the kids up there with them for some sort of community service activity/project. “That’s nice,” I said. “Now bring them down.”
So in short order, a dozen or so Girl Scouts and an equivalent number of sorority women came hustling down the stairs. The little kids got there first, and I told them, “Hi, I’m Professor Moore. I work here, and this is the safest place to be, so everyone have a seat here in the hallway, OK?” The kids had clearly been through their share of tornado drills, because they got set up against the hallway wall with no problem. The sorority ladies sat down as well, as did a couple of moms/scout leader types.
My phone blatted with an update: The (seeming) twister had headed away from Mondoville, toward another section of the county, but we would remain under the warning for about another 25 minutes or so. (One of the sorority women told me she was far less concerned about the possible twister than about the exam she’s taking in my class on Tuesday.) So I filled the adults in, and the activities resumed in our new locale. The sorority folks taught the scouts about bees, butterflies, pollination and such, and after the warning had expired, I bid them adieu, called the Spawn and told her it was OK, and gathered my stuff to come home.
As I left, a mom held the door for me. “You were really on the job,” she said. “You got everyone down here and settled right away.” I laughed and told them it was no big deal. I’m sure the sorority women would have handled things just as smoothly. In retrospect, though, maybe I should have asked for a deal on some Thin Mints.