I had an interesting opportunity last night: the chance to have one of my childhood fantasies fulfilled. And when all is said and done, I have to tell you — it wasn’t as great as I imagined it would be.
When I was a kid, I always dreamed of being locked in somewhere overnight. Maybe a big department store, where I could run around and try things out and dress up in different clothes. Or maybe a bakery or a candy store. Or even a high school, where I could run around and play in the gym and listen to music all through the school on the P.A. system.
And last night, it actually happened.
BDH and I are getting involved with a local sports club, and last night there was a practice at a local high school. We went along to meet the fellow who is running the club, watch him coaching, and see if we’d be a good fit. The practice went really well, and afterwards, we started chatting with this fellow, and since we had to leave the school so the custodial staff could clean up and lock up, we adjourned to the parking lot.
We had a really nice chat with this man, who shares a lot of the same ideas and philosophies about minor sport as us, and is also really easy to talk to. So we were gabbing for an hour or so, about all kinds of things.
Suddenly, the man stopped. “Wait a second,” he said. “Do you think they may have closed the gate on us?”
We were at a private school outside of town on a rural side road. And the entrance is gated.
I thought the gate, like many gates outside many expensive places, was just decorative.
Turns out, not so much.
We drove down to the front gate to find the custodial staff had long since left the grounds and locked the actual, real, working gate behind them. And despite BDH’s and our new colleague’s best efforts, it was staying locked. They tried walking around the gate (it was a real gate, fenced and everything.) They tested the lock several times to make sure it was locked. (It was.) They looked for some sort of electronic pad to unlock it, with maybe a security system phone number on it. (None to be found.)
Our colleague went to his car to see if he had any contact numbers. And, as luck would have it, he didn’t have anything — he normally brings his laptop with address book in it, but did not. And because he just moved to the area a short time ago, he didn’t have any phone numbers for anyone he could call to help us out.
So, we drove back up to the school.
We went to the front door, and looked for a doorbell to ring, in case someone was still inside. We looked for another notice up there, maybe containing an after-hours phone number. There was nothing.
And then, BDH spied a security number. So he got on his cellphone and called.
The security people were wonderful. Really nice. And completely unable to help us. Turns out, they’re a fire security place, and they take care of the fire alarm system. They didn’t have any contact information for anyone we could call. Unless, of course, we wanted to call the fire department.
So, back to the front gate we went, hoping somebody in a neighbouring home would see us locked in and call someone. And we waited.
Eventually, after still more looking around and thinking and wondering, our colleague suggested he would go back to the school and look around — maybe there was still someone inside he could find, or a number somewhere we could call. We said we’d stay at the gate and hope to be noticed.
About 10 minutes later, our colleague’s car came back down the drive. He said that in his looking around, he found that a doorjamb that he had put in the gym door was still there. The custodians had not seen it and had not locked the door. So he had opened the door, stepped in, and set off the school alarm system.
We were feeling a mix of relief and concern. The alarm going off meant somebody would surely come to investigate, so that was good news. However, who they would be, and how much trouble we would potentially be in when they arrived, concerned us a bit. I mean, not REALLY concerned, because if we were up to no good, it would have been a stupid plan to be found sitting by a locked gate in our cars. But still, I am sure police hear many a stupid plan in the course of their work. So, just in case, we agreed our colleague would do all the talking, and we would be as cooperative as humanly possible to whoever showed up.
Trouble is… nobody showed up. Not for about 15 minutes, anyway. So our colleague said he’d go back up to the school again and see if he could trip the alarm again.
He didn’t go far, and turned around and came back. The alarms were still going. And he could hear them almost all the way down to the gate! Surely SOMEBODY in a neighbouring home or something would hear the alarms going on such a still night and report something going on.
We waited. And watched car after car whiz by on the country road, unconcerned that there were two cars behind the locked gate.
Finally, a car pulled up. It was the security company. Our colleague approached and told the guard of the situation. We agreed to all drive back up to the school so the guard could check out the problem, disable the alarm, take a report, and whatever else was required.
We were in no position to argue.
Once again, we drove back up to the school, and waited. Finally, our colleague drove out and told us we were free to go. The guard had checked everything out, and reset the alarm and properly locked the gym door. He had taken down all our names, but seemed unconcerned.
I would expect this was not the first time this had happened.
And apparently, the alarm has been set off many a time in the past — recently by a spider, even. So that was why it took so long for the guards to respond, and why he was fairly unconcerned about the whole thing.
And so, more than 2 1/2 hours after our practice actually ended, we finally left the school and headed home. We were tired. And hungry. And I really had to pee.
I have to admit, it was pretty hilarious for the most part. A great adventure. And although it didn’t have all the running around eating and playing and trying things on and dancing and stuff I had imagined it would, in my dreams all those years ago, I can now say I had finally had one of my childhood dreams fulfilled!
But it’s fair to say I’m happy none of my childhood dreams involved, say, parachuting out of airplanes or anything of that nature. Because I think that was about enough adventure for me for one night, thankyouverymuch.