Tuesday was our first day of the new semester. After a long weekend we all returned, some excited, some defeated, some still recovering, and got our new classes. No easy schedule for me anymore, no siree. I start out at eight in the morning with the ever thrilling U.S. history class. Sounds boring you say? Think again! It’s an honors class, so we’re never bored! We constantly get tests! Worksheets! Exclamation marks!
After the grueling ninety minutes we spend discussing crops, peasant folk and widespread disease (oh! Behold the glamorous life of high school students), I continue on to chemistry honors. This is the class I’m excited for. Visions of bubbling green liquids in beakers and acids that burrow through countertops dance across my eyes as I step into class. So excited am I to accidentally contract superpowers from an experiment gone horribly awry that I forget to move my car from two hour parking.
Now, normally I would just tell the teacher I need to move it, or in the event that the teacher is highly susceptible to lectures I would make the excuse to go to the bathroom and deal with the awkwardness of returning fifteen minutes later that inevitably comes with it. This however, was the first day of our classes, five minutes in, with a teacher I was not familiar with and who was not familiar with me. So, as I sat there deliberating between just asking her or making my excuse, the fire alarm went off. My teacher simply laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Now I feel I should stop here for a moment and acknowledge the fact that nobody will be pulling the fire alarm in a school unless an entire class is on fire. Since we were in the only chemistry lab, it seemed unlikely some history homework somewhere had spontaneously combusted (despite my relentless mental efforts). The only time the fire alarm does seem to go off (and believe me, it goes off with a vengeance- a high pitched wailing siren that is none too pleasant to hear on your first day back) is when it’s a drill, or more likely, some student that thinks everyone deserves some fresh air. So, when the alarm does go off, the students and teachers make a lackadaisical parade to the football field, none worrying about their being an actual fire.
So as kids began begrudgingly to file out of classrooms and walk down the big hill to the football field, I was excitedly sprinting through the quad to my car, not being able to believe my luck. I got in my car and drove (a certain number of miles I’m not going to say in the case that a parent reads this), down to the football field. I parked and made it down at the same time as my class. Feeling pretty good of myself, I breezed through the rest of the day, stoked on not having to slyly bring up this parking ticket I found on my windshield to my parents.
Once attendance was checked and the teachers held up their little neon green cards everyone trudged twice as begrudgingly back up the hill and returned to our classes. An announcement came on from the Assistant Principal talking about how if anyone had any information on who pulled the alarm there was an award for his or her arrest and they’d have to pay a fine of a thousand dollars and blah, blah, blah we turn two powders yellow and frothy and go to lunch.
After lunch I went to art class-Look, I said my schedule wasn’t easy I never said anything about it being difficult- and after ninety minutes of learning that “art is everywhere” I got to go home. As I got in my car and started driving down to the gym to pick up my friend, I noticed a police car was right behind me. When his lights came on I was frantically trying to think of something I could’ve done wrong (I knew I wasn’t speeding because as soon as I saw him my indicator was balanced precisely on the twenty-five mile per hour tick). I did the whole “Is there a problem officer?” and he asked if I was Ty Love. I said I was pretty sure (okay, okay, I’m not that cool under pressure I stuttered out a "Ye-es Officer.”) And he did the whole “license and registration, please.” and asked to see my hands and then told me to follow him into the lower lot and come to the office with him. As nervous as I was I had a pretty certain feeling I hadn’t done anything wrong- but who can really keep track?
The policeman escorted me up to the Assistant Principal. The thing was, we were down in the lower lot, and the bell had just rung. Meaning that I was being escorted by an officer of the SCPD through the gym, the quad, and several hallways, while everyone else was going to their classes. At first I tried to reassure the confused and worried faces of my fellow students with a smile. After awhile though I just gave up and let them think me a bad ass. I (probably) hadn’t done anything wrong, so why not?
The officer sat me down in the office and the A.P. asked why I thought I was here. I pleaded the fifth and he asked to see my hands like the officer had. He then proceeded to explain to me what had landed me in this position.
You see, apparently when the fire alarm is pulled it shoots out some blue paint which stains the hands of whoever pulled it, so that if someone pulls it in a false alarm they can be sought out and the hefty fine placed on them instead of the school. They kept checking my hands because they wanted to know why, when everyone else was calmly walking down to the football field, there were witnesses saying they saw me sprinting in the opposite direction, get in my car, and drive away quickly. They checked again to make sure I was Ty love, checking my license and on the computer, just in case I had suddenly swapped with a double on the walk up there I suppose.
After a half hour explanation that I had just gone to move my car- which I was worried about getting in trouble for since it was against some sort of fire safety regulation whatever- they began to believe me. I got a lecture about why it’s so horrible to pull alarms (which I questioned the necessity of), and a witness from my chemistry class who saw me there the whole time, and I was released. My brief time in the bad ass spotlight done and gone, my rebellious high school persona raised and crushed in the space of an hour. Well, after explaining it again to everyone the next day.
I did learn one thing though: when they realize you didn’t do something really bad, they won’t even give the smaller things a second thought.