As some of you may not know, I'm a mentor with a local middle school. Stop making those faces! I happen to be a very good influence on grubby smelly little children.

I'm currently assigned to an eighth grader, who I visit every Tuesday. Yesterday, after already sending a call notice to her, she showed up in the office and pouted at me. It seems she had been waiting in our regular room. I however, commented that I figured she wasn't there, because the lights were off. I believe then some comment was made about a note on the board which described her being in the computer lab, and how vision in the dark looses it's efficiency in old age.

I'm saving all her lops up for one gigantic pummeling.

I went with her to the computer lab where we did some research on an interview she had today. She got to pick a profession out of a hat, and then had to come prepared to class to give an interview about what it was like to be in that profession. She picked "Elementary School Teacher" which, surprisingly enough, was extremely hard to find any interview preparation questions for. Eventually I did, and while I was saving them on a disk to print, a conversation started...

"Oh. We're having a drill today."

Dread sweeps over me. Visions of fighting laughing, jabbing, bumping mobs of middle schoolers to get to some designated place where you're forced to stand in line and wait for someone to hold up a sign to say you didn't burn to a crisp flash through my mind. "A fire drill?" I asked tentively, hoping for the best.

She shook her head, and rolled her eyes. "An earthquake drill. We watched a video yesterday that said we could have one any minute."

Uhhu. We could get burnt up by foaming waves of white-hot lava before we have an earthquake, but I don't point this out. Don't want to scare the kiddies. "An earthquake drill, hu? I've never been in one of those before."

"You have to duck and cover under the table."

I laughed. We were sitting at a long ten person table completely covered in computer equipment. If I don't get squished by falling monitors, surely I'll be strangled by the millions of cords hanging everywhere.

Granted, I don't want to argue with school authority when I'm supposed to be monitoring but..."How about no?" I say, staring at the ceiling.

Since I have trained her so well, she went to go ask the instructor in the Computer Lab if I had to participate. I waited, eventually she came back, and slumping down in her chair she said, "Everyone has to participate."

Fine. I've never been in an Earthquake drill before, so what the freaking heck. "Ok, so, what do we have to do?"

"We have to get under a table and stay there until they all clear. Or stand in a doorway."

Well, since the doorways were all those doors that have the hinges so they self shut and I didn't feel like getting sliced in half by a door, and the tables were covered in computer equipment. Both those options were out. We decided to go back to the room we meet in, and wait for the earthquake to hit. I kept hoping that the school had put the building up on hydraulics, and would slosh us all up like a gigantanormus milkshake, but to my dismay, all I got was an announcement over the PA system. I was sad.

"Attention students, an earthquake has started, please duck and cover until the all clear is given, and then evacuate the school. If it isn't done right, we will have to do it again." I could hear the groans of the students in the rooms surrounding me, but Mr. PA didn't seem to care, "Remember, duck and cover."

"There once was a turtle by the name of Burt..." I sang quietly to myself. It's extremely important that you can entertain yourself, you see. I try and teach this to my Mentees whenever possible. It builds self-esteem, and all those sorts of peoplely rubbish.

Like drunken sailors, we flopped under the table in our meeting room, and grimaced at the gum stuck to the bottom. "Some people." My Mentee said with disgust.

"It's ok." I told her, "They've all died in the Earthquake."

"Attention students," The PA squawked to life again, "If you are under a table," Look at that, I thought bitterly, I am. "If you're under a table, it's shaking right now, so hold on to the table legs and shake with it."

My Mentee spazamed for a table leg, and convulsed a bit, in a weird rubbery chicken sort of fashion. "Oh no! The table has fallen on us!"

I nodded "We're dead."


We stared at each other under the table, making tongue-hanging-out-bloated-dead-faces until the announcement was made that an "All Clear" was given.

"Please exit the building in an orderly manner." The PA barked.

"How can we? We've died!"

"We're zombies, so we can exit in a lumbering manner. That's almost as good."

As we wandered outside, I switched to stealth Zombie Mode I heard the principal shout at the children that this was a serious matter. Instead, I made my serious face, and held the door open for rough-housing little children as they flowed from the building. I felt bad for them, because there was no staff in sight (early lunch perhaps?) and I was stuck holding the door.

If there was a real earthquake, I'm pretty sure they'd all be doomed. And no, I didn't shut the door on any of them. On purpose anyway.

Weaving through the teeming mass of yelling and screaming children, I met up with the Librarians (who hadn't abandoned the 'umpkins in their time of crisis, bless them) I was approached by two other teachers.

"Did your children all do it right?" One asked me. It must have been the badge hanging from my neck that made me look like a teacher, I thought. Or maybe I just exuded teacher vibes. I should ask for a parking space and tenure.

I studied them thoughtfully, "No." I said very slowly, "No, they didn't." I made thinking harder faces, which for me takes hardly thinking at all. "No, I think they need to do it again."

As I left a few minutes later, I knew deep in the heart of my heart that the children would all thank me for their second go-round someday. They would look up to me with their shining, smiling faces, and I would bask in their earthquake drill educated love. After all, like Narrator says, it's important to know just what to do.


Don't worry sillies.
No one paid me any mind,
To my babbling.

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