Monday, November 14, 2011

Spring Break From Hell!

Thanks to my eperience with Spring Break from Hell, I can't stand any type of strobes. Not even those used at parties or dances. Just triggers the preconditioned headache.

This happened in my second year at an university when I made the ill-fated decision to stay there over the spring break. I didn't budget carefully and when I made my decision, I had just $10 in my account.

After I blew my $10 on 10 days' worth of bread and soup, I returned to my dorm room and found a note stuck on the door. It read, "We will be testing the fire alarms over the next three days for testing and maintenance."

I thought nothing of that - I had gone through the nights when someone thought it was funny to pull a fire alarm at 3 am. I had no idea what was in store for me in sheer terms of misery.

First day, the fire alarms went off with the strobe lights flashing. I went to a friend's room and we thought it was enough to put a cup over the strobe. The flashing seemed to get brighter and brighter, to the point where it was annoying us. I got a plastic bag and stuffed it into the cup before putting it back on the strobe. Ah...but the victory was short-lived. The strobe light was determined to shine through 2 inches of plastic and it did.

It stopped after three hours. I had an headache. We thought it would be about the same length of time used to test the strobes for the next day. We were ready for the light. We got three cups stacked on top of each other with paper lining the inside, the bottom cup was stuffed extra-full of plastic bags, and the shield was taped tightly over the light to prevent any light escaping. The test commenced and we almost couldn't see the light at all. Suh-weet!

We started to notice the flashing from the stobe. The flashes were getting stronger and stronger...I checked the clock and saw it had been 3 hours already and it was still flashing. My headache was back. And flashing. 4 hours. And flashing. Headache was so strong that my eyes were hurting. AND flashing. AND FLASHING. AND FLASHING! AND FLASHING!!!!!!!!

We fled the dormitory for the mall. It was actually weird to see all floors of the dormitory flashing in random sequences as if there were gunfights all over. When the madness finally stopped an hour later, we returned to his room and we were shocked to discover that the bags in the shield had melted a bit from the heat of constant flashing.

Because of the heat and the intensity of the strobe, we decided to not cover the strobe up at all and we would leave the dorm before the testing started again on third day. It took them 9 hours to finish and I was thoroughly familar with the mall. Having lived on bread and soup for 10 days, the cafeteria food had never tasted better than the day after spring break ended.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's easy to overlook something when you're not disabled...

A prime example is this funny comic strip...

This actually happened to me once. I had a doctor's appointment in the morning; I preferred mornings because it was far easier to see the doctor in the morning than in the afternoon when the doctor has already fallen behind schedule.

After the appointment, I arrived at work and decided to park outside instead of the parking garage because I knew there wouldn't be any decent parking spot left. I went into the building through the front doors. What caught my attention was lack of people on the first floor - this area is where people come in to pay what they owe. Not a single soul...not even behind the counters.

I shrugged and went up to third floor. When I opened the door to third floor, there was nobody around. I started to freak a little...even thought that maybe I came in on a non-business day or even worse...I was in an alternate reality.

After looking around a little, I went into the bathroom. After finishing my business in there, I ran into my supervisor as he headed into the bathroom. He was relieved to see me. I asked where everyone had gone. He said that there was a fire evacuation drill and he was surprised that I could not hear the strident WHEE-oo WHEE-oo alarm.

I asked him how he knew I was here and he said someone had spotted me. He thought I had gone to my desk, but I wasn't there and he freaked out a little. I probably took a year or two off his life. Hmm.

This is WHY workplaces should be mandated to have strobe (flashing) fire alarms. Shortly after that incident, every floor was equipped with strobe fire alarms.

Oh boy, that reminds me of the spring break from Hell...which I will post shortly after this. ;)