Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Madness- Brush With Terror?

When my friend sent me this email, I knew I needed to share it. Humorous and poignant all at the same time. Welcome guest blogger... Tricia Bartig!

Family night. We went to the mall. Ate at Cheesecake Factory. J1 was exhausted and had a headache and Hubby didn't feel good either. So J2 and I headed to the Timothy Green movie in the mall theater after paying the bill. Hubs and J1 headed home. When the movie was about to start there was a belabored video about reporting suspicious behavior and identifying where all the exits were. That creeped me out!  
I remembered the massacre at the movie theater in July. I knew that was the reason for the video. (I never felt unsafe in a movie theater until that moment. And it wasn't my imagination. I'm in shock that this is what our country has come to. People are so psychotic in our nation, you just don't know when or where the next senseless mass killing is going to occur. 
Anyway, 3/4 of the way through the movie we started hearing sirens vaguely in the distance. At first I thought it was back ground noise in the movie. When I realized it wasn't apart of the sound track I realized it was noise bleeding in from out side the walls of our theater. Was it the movie next door? I realized that the entire mall was going off in alarms except in the theater. How many minutes had it been? I had kicked my boots off a half hour ago, I began to tremble inside. Slipping my boots on and looking around, it seemed few had noticed. I grabbed J2' s hand; he heard the noise too. I instructed him we were leaving and for the first time in his entire life he was as compliant as a lamb!   
We edged our way past the sitting people in the aisle the way you imagine edging the ledge of a high building. And that's how I felt, like my world could topple any moment. My head was pounding! One other couple popped up after me.  With J2 in hand I didn't stop to wonder if I was being dramatic and over reacting. The rest of the audience barely seemed to notice. As we steadily walked to the hall the open lobby ahead was empty except for some movie employees clustered on the red carpet in the vast center wearing all black. One young woman who acted like she may have some authority urgently said to a blond  girl, also wearing black, " Tell them to all leave calmly and walk to the escalators and head for the mall exit doors. Eyes wide, the blond RAN past me and J2. I quickened our pace to the escalators. As we hit the top of the moving staircase a young man dressed like the other employees was running up the opposite escalator stairs to our level with a walky- talky in his hand with a scared look on his face. Oh crap! What is it, I'm wondering? A fire? A terrorist attack? Some other disillusioned , entitled, American thinking it would make sense to mow down a bunch of people because his life sucks? 
Below I see a mostly empty 2 levels of mall except for a handful of clusters of people obediently evacuating,  acting calmly (Text book! Or was it more like zombies? ) and moving toward the glass sliding door to the dark, cool outdoors. Through the glass I see a couple hundred people congregated on the concrete under the street lights waiting around to see what's going on- teenagers festively sitting on what shouldn't be sat on and standing on what shouldn't be stood on, with a few curious adults waiting around. I don't want to be a bad example but I start to walk-jog with J2 firm in my grip. As the alarms continued to blair I could smell a strange smell  that made my throat dry. I instruct J2 to cover his face with his shirt. I do the same with my knit shrug, knowing the DANG Thing won't help me against biological warfare anyway! (This is a stupid thought process I know, but nonetheless, It's what I thought!) We got through the doors in a real life race and to the Jeep. J2 and I high tailed it home as fire truck sirens and lights were headed in . Other emergency vehicles  had already arrived at the south end of the mall pulsing their red and blue lights against the walls. 
So far we have not heard what went on there. And it is probably nothing more than a kitchen fire. Like some lanky teen, giant hole in the ear, fast food cook's rubber slap watch falling into the chicken fryer! =)   
But I will say that I've thought about what I would feel about my life had my worst nightmares come true. It crystalized pretty quickly. First, there isn't anything I regret like I thought I did. I have given my all to my kids. Imperfectly, but passionately. I have faced my fears, not given up on my dreams, spoken the truth and loved till it hurts. I have enjoyed the best of life and pursued the process of forgiving the worst of it. And I discovered I have no questions because I already know the One who has all the answers. We'll see if I hear in the news tomorrow what happened. If not, I will be forced to concoct my own dramatic Hollywood worthy conclusions!  If it is a fry cook, I hope he gets fired for scaring the hell out of me ! =) 

PS- We later discovered it was a water pressure malfunction that was causing the fire alarm/sprinkler system to go off. So Fry Cook, we'll save your hangin' for another day. :)

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