Here we go. I do not get riled up easily. Under stress, I usually get calmer, not more hysterical. When auto accidents happen to other people, I am the first one out of my car (or the house, or whatever) to race over to try to help. This kind of stuff does not bother me. In fact, it is rather thrilling to be able to help.
BUT, and this is a big but, something has changed as evidenced by two recent events.
First, a couple weeks ago, I was at a meeting at work at a four-storey building I am not normally in. Our meeting was interrupted half way through by the loudest fire alarm in the history of fire alarms. We calmly gathered up our things and made our way to the stairs (the location for which I only vaguely knew). There I found all the men waiting in a line, and the women going into the stairway. My comment: "Women and children first? Are you kidding?"
So, we made our way down the stairs. Orderly. Calmly. Our group joined the group coming in off the second floor. Now the group was bigger. Things moving more slowly, but still calmly. Along the way I kept asking if this was a drill. No one knew. Finally, out the door, I saw a Facilities employee I knew. "This is a drill, right?" He nodded. Okay.
We gathered in the parking garage -- and I was shaking. Really. I told the others that I was actually scared. Why? Probably because, just a few days before, Matt and I had watched the 9/11 documentary about the fire department -- the one with actual footage of firemen in the lobby of Tower One. That was scary.
Then, last night, we went out with Matt's family for a belated birthday dinner for Matt. As we were leaving I heard the unmistakable sound of a fighter jet. Looking up we saw a fighter jet very low to the ground flying right over us. That was scary. Know what was even more scary? When the second sound started, louder this time, and a second fighter jet flew over, even lower to the ground. It was so loud I could not hear my own voice. Car alarms started going off all around us.
Know what was even worse? The comments from the others that "Maybe we are under attack." Okay, that is not funny. We've been watching the totally wonderful series "Jericho" and I am telling you that is not funny.
So, we drove home, seeing no evidence of an attack. No mushroom cloud over downtown Phoenix (which would be, ironically, over our house, too) The restaurant we were at is near a university stadium, so maybe the fighter jets were part of some half-time show or something.