My son Genius is at it again. Sometimes, I think that boy came by his name in the same manner a septuagenarian is called "Young Lady" by a sleazy furniture salesman, a lanky construction worker is called "Tubby" by his buddies, and the comic book Lotta is called "Little."
Today we had a bit of a scare. I can't have my cell phone on at work. I check it during my plan time, then it goes off for the rest of the day. This morning I toyed with the idea of checking it before going to lunch. That's at 10:53 a.m., you know. But checking my phone would mean draining the battery that has as much stamina as a 98-pound weakling emerging from a decade in an iron lung. Besides, it would take valuable seconds off my 21-minute lunch. So I left Phonie right there on the table of my control center.
I had a minute to spare after watching a lunchmate ingest a bowl of chili with a heap of shredded cheddar stringing from bowl to lip, a pile of celery with two containers of cream cheese for dipping, three fruit cups, and two half-pints of chocolate milk. Low fat. In my spare minute, I turned on Phonie. I had a text from Genius. TWO! This is from the kid who will go two weeks without communicating. Must be something important, I thought. Like he's out of money. But no! Here's a paraphrasing of his message:
"Two gas line breaks. Main campus has been evacuated. I am fine."
He sent it at 10:47. I should know not to ignore my hunches. The second text said: "They are letting us stay in the residence halls for now."
By this time, the bell had rung and my class was be-bopping in from lunch. I went to the cafeteria to ask if anyone had heard any news on this topic. Nope. I was the town crier. I rushed back to mind my charges. We are working on projects, preparing them for the Monday deadline. After drawing numbers for presentation order, and getting them started, I checked to see if any news stations had picked up the story. Yes. Seems that the leak had been located, and students were being allowed back into some buildings. But here's the kicker...
At the height of the forced evacuation, people were warned against using light switches, cell phones, or doing anything that would result in a spark.
So of course the first thing Genius did was get out his cell phone and text me.