Do you remember fire drills from school? Remember how everyone quickly lined up at the front of the room while the teachers shut the windows and turned off the lights? Remember the orderly procession out to the yard where you were drenched, frozen, or blown over by the nasty weather that always seemed to be kicking up on the day the drill was scheduled?
Remember that time where you got to the designated exit and the door was tied shut with rope so you couldn’t get out?
Yeah, me neither.
So you can understand my frustration when I led my class to the gym doors this morning only to find that the handles had been lashed together with rope to keep out raccoons and sludge monsters during the night. In my mildly panicked state (it was only a drill after all), I was unable to untie the ropes, so we quickly (but calmly) headed out the alternate exit at the front of the building.
At this time, I also realized the absurdity of naming doors by their cardinal directions when you have an idiot like me in a position of responsibility. Really, I couldn’t tell you which way north is if you put a gun to my head and said something like, “Point toward the Arctic intersection of the lines of longitude or I’ll blow your brains out.” I really couldn’t. I’d probably just tell you to shoot, because it won’t happen without a GPS or a compass.
Making a sign that says to use the “North Doors” as an emergency exit is like telling me to take the kids through the door to Narnia, since I have about as much of a chance of finding that as I do of finding magnetic north in a fire drill.
The staff assured me that the doors were supposed to have been untied, but it still felt a bit like some kind of unpleasant hazing ritual for the new guy.