Your family is fine. Everyone is fine. That is where you want the phone call to begin. (Yes we are fine. As dramatic as the story would read from here, you need not go through what I did.)
Instead I was summoned from my classroom to go down to the main office in the middle of a class without an explanation. When I asked; “What is going on?” I was told only; “I don’t know, I’ll come cover your class.”
In my school building, teaching is not interrupted for phone calls (unless it is an emergency–as in your child is sick) and is never interrupted for anything that can be discussed at the teacher’s next non instructional period, or the day’s end. So for me to be called downstairs at 10:50 in the morning with no explanation quickly meant one thing-this in an emergency that requires the principal to tell you in person, and away from your students.
After asking the students if they were all set with the work at hand, I stepped into the hallway as the lead of dread rose up from the outer lining of every cell. After ninety seconds in the hallway my chest cavity seizing up, I saw another colleague walking out of his empty classroom. Without having me even complete the sentence he covered my room. I took off down the hall.
My kids? Are my kids alright? Was all I could get out when I saw the staff person who was coming to relieve me at the top of the stairs.
Your building, she answered. Someone hit your building.
I was rounding the corner to the office where the police officer was waiting with my principal, and the school nurse. (Had I not seen my colleague seconds before I would have passed out at the sight of a police officer waiting for me. ) My kids, I said. I was so worried about my kids… Tears welling up in my eyes.
The officer reassured me that this was about a car that crashed into the side of my building. About the sizeable hole that allowed you to see clear down to my basement. About a new driver, who had only a permit and a very big car. Bricks. It’s just bricks. The driver is fine. He has insurance, and he had a learner’s permit…
The police officer didn’t know that this happened before, last year. Only it wasn’t this bad. Last year it was a swipe. This year, it is a big big hole.
And I didn’t know until the kindly gentleman from the insurance company with the southern drawl told me that; “this very same thang happened to your property on June 10th last year, according to the claim report…” Now that is weird.
And ironically the contractor who was going to fix the damage from the first hit (exhaust spouts and some internal ceiling repair in the bathroom) who had finally got me on his calendar now has to wait. After the appraiser comes Monday, a mason will have to fix the outer wall before both sections of ceiling can be repaired now.
The principal suggested I go buy a lottery ticket. I’m thinking that next June 10th might involve saw horses, a blocked driveway, or a whole mess of industrial strength bubble wrap.
At the end of this very long day a whole lot of hugging and a stop at the video store was a must. How did I agree to five movies?