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Nightmare Realized

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Is the fear a holdover from childhood experiences growing up in a house with a burglar alarm? Or is it common to fear being locked in one’s place of employment??

Now before you start going all Dr. Freud on me, it really has nothing to do with where I work as I had the same concern in my last two positions. Since my study has always been on the second floor of the building, I am afraid that everyone will leave for the night and, not realizing that I was still in the building, set the alarm, and lock the door.

Silly, no? You tell me.

9 Elul. 8:55pm. Making headway on research for her Rosh HaShanah sermon, Frume Sarah hears the sound of the security alarm being set. Her nightmare was coming true. “Hello? Hello? I’m still here!!” To no avail. The alarm was set. The door was shut. And Frume Sarah could not recall whether or not motion detectors had been installed in her study.


Trying to maintain her position, and grateful for voice-activation, Frume Sarah calls BossGiraffe.

BossGiraffe: Hi.
FrumeSarah: Did no one notice the car in my parking spot?
BossGiraffe: I saw it. And the light in your study. Are you still at work?
FrumeSarah: Yes. Yes, I am. And now I’m the only one here. I’ve been locked in the building.
BossGiraffe: Really? Are you sure?
FrumeSarah: Pretty sure.
BossGiraffe: Hmmmm. Well, do you want me to come down there?

Well, I certainly wasn’t calling just to chit-chat…

Nechemta (consolation):
One of my long-held fears actually came true. And it wasn’t nearly as frightening as I had imagined all of these years. In fact, it was kind-of funny. So much wasted energy on something that had no lasting or negative repercussion.

Maybe that’s how it is with much of what we dread. Imagination is powerful. What if what we envision is far worse than the reality? And what if, knowing that, we fear just a little less.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, 19 August 2010 9:55 pm

    this has happened to me a few times – both in OC and in ATL, and once in Dallas. Those of use who work better late in the evening – this is a huge problem! Lucky for you that Abba of yours knows the building codes!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 23 August 2010 11:21 pm

      That and he lives really close to the shul!

  2. Rebgiraffe permalink
    Thursday, 19 August 2010 10:43 pm

    One time I arrived at my former synagogue after the office staff had left, and the Hebrew teacher had not yet arrived. The bathrooms were outside the building. When I entered, something seemed odd with the handle. After washing my hands, I attempted to exit. The door handle came off in my hand! I was alone and stuck…for over an hour. When the Hebrew teacher arrived 15 minutes before class, I began yelling, “Helga…Helga!” After a few minutes, this ever impeccably coiffed European teacher recognized the sound of my voice, and came to my rescue. Indeed, nightmares can come true in shul. Sadly, that was not the worst of them to occur there!

  3. Friday, 20 August 2010 1:21 am

    Your fears are not unique. People should follow safety rules and check a buiding before locking it and setting alarms. But most people just seem to leave without a word.

    I was once locked in a stairway. The door locked behind me so I could not get out the way I got in. The doors at the bottom of the stairs were chained shut on the outside! It was on a friday night and the World Series game was about to start. I escaped by pushing the doors open as much as I could and yelling for help. A guard let me out after a few minutes.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 23 August 2010 11:24 pm

      Even with safety protocols, mistakes and oversights can happen. The fact that this was the only instance of someone (specifically me!) being locked into the building indicates that things tend to run according to plan. Thank goodness.

      I can imagine how absolutely frightening your experience was. In fact, I’ve been imagining it for year. Glad it turned out well for you.

  4. Friday, 20 August 2010 6:17 am

    I am so sorry, but I just sort of LOL. I am glad you are un-scared by this experience and that you can indeed laugh as well. I hope BossGiraffe can get over this too 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 23 August 2010 11:24 pm

      Yeah…it is LOL. More now than at the time 😉

  5. Elisa Heisman permalink
    Friday, 20 August 2010 6:43 am

    A few years ago, I was stuck in the elevator on Sunday morning during religious school hours with my (then) 3 year old son at our synagogue. The educator decided to do a fire drill just as the elevator door closed. At first, I didn’t know it was only a drill and thought the worst. Luckily, I got in touch with the elevator company who assured me it was only a drill. I gave the representative from the elevator company the phone number of the religious school secretary (because my cell phone had no signal in the elevator). We were rescued by the fire department 45 minutes later. Suffice it to say, I rarely use that elevator any more and if I have to I let everyone in the building know that I’m using it!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 23 August 2010 11:24 pm

      My mom got stuck in an elevator in Brazil when I was a kid. I’ve been a bit leery of them ever since.

  6. Friday, 20 August 2010 2:20 pm

    I was working in a conference room in the building of a shul I worked for in Cincinnati. I didn’t know that everyone had left and I stepped out into the hallway and set off loud (I mean LOUD) alarms.

    I went into the office (with my key, of course) where the phone was ringing. I was practically in tears. I answered the phone and it was the security company. They said, “can we have the password please?” I had no idea – no one had ever told me a password. So I said, “shema?” The guy said, “no, I’m sorry, that’s not right.” Then I said, “how about Israel?” and you know what? That was the password.

    Crisis averted. But I’ve got ya, sister. TOTAL nightmare. I hate being the last one in the building. I go to great lengths to avoid dealing with the alarms at all.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 23 August 2010 11:26 pm

      Come ON. ‘Israel’ as a synagogue password is like 1-2-3-4.

      In my first congregation, I think I was there at least a year before I was ever in the position to lock-up. Avoided it at all costs.

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