We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off (To Have A Good Time)

But we almost did at work last night. Here's the chronology:

2:00 a.m. I take a tray of rejects back to Manual Letters for the Naples clerk to work, but I'm turned back by a supervisor, who tells me to take the mail back to my machine because Manual has been closed down due to a clerk finding a suspicious white powder. Uh-oh.

2:02 a.m. I return to my machine and tell my partner what has occurred. I decide to go to the locker room and get my wallet out of my locker and take it out to my car, in case they decide to clear the building and seal it. If that happens, nobody may be able to re-enter the building for a long time, maybe days.

2:05 a.m I take my wallet out to my car. I also take advantage of the opportunity to move my car closer to the building. Second row!

2:10 a.m. As I feared, the alarm starts going off. We are herded out to the dock, and then out into the truck parking lot on the west side of the building by I-75. This is definitely not amusing. My lunch box was still in my locker. Unlike my wallet, I could survive without it for a few days if I had to. We were told to stay back from the building. A couple of supervisors eventually made their way around and gave us the minimal amount of information. Most of us had already figured out that this wasn't a drill.

We knew that we could potentially be stuck outside for hours. Fortunately, this is Florida in March, and the weather was fine. Some people complained about being cold, but it was probably in the mid-60s and it wasn't raining, so I was fine. It was no more uncomfortable for me than it normally is on my machine.

2:50 a.m. We stand around chatting and joking about the situation, including the possibility of having to be decontaminated and driving home in a paper dress. We are faced with the choice of standing on hard concrete or sitting on hard concrete. I sit for awhile, then stand back up. A few people sprawl on the ground and sleep. We ask a supervisor about the possibility of bringing some nearby wooden pallets over to sit on, but are told we must stay away from the building. About this time, we see a firetruck with lights flashing moving along the access road to the plant. No, this doesn't look good at all.

3:30 a.m. Some of the Tour 3 people have already racked up an hour of overtime. About this time, the supervisors have us gather at the fence at the south end of the truck parking lot. We are told that they are waiting for the "all-clear" to return to the building. The powder was supposed to be tested this morning and those who were possibly exposed to it would be notified what it was. The crowd mills around a bit.

3:40 a.m. The "all-clear" is given and we return to the building. We find that the ventilation system in the building wasn't shut off, so if there was anything airborne, it would have circulated throughout the building. Automation clerks are told to go to the Marco Room, where the supervisor tells us that everyone, list and non-list, will have overtime until the dispatches are out.

Well, it didn't go too badly after that. My partner went straight to lunch, for which he was about an hour and fifteen minutes later than normal. I ran all of our small run and started turning it around. My partner returned, and when we had everything under control, I went to lunch at 4:50 a.m., more than an hour later than normal and only 10 minutes before the mandatory six-hour mark by which I was required to go to lunch. In the end, that run went out about 40 minutes late, and then we got the other run out by the normal 7:00 a.m. dispatch time. I didn't even end up having to stay for overtime.

While at lunch, I learned that they had called the addressee on the envelope where the powder originated and found out that it was pesticide for killing insects. Not anthrax or anything like that, to everyone's relief.

Other stuff: I'm still waiting for my "Oblivion" game, which shipped yesterday and will arrive via UPS on Friday. When I stopped off at Wal-Mart to get a few things this morning after work, I looked in the Electronics section, and sure enough, they have it in stock. It was the plain version of the game, however, not the Collector's Edition, which comes with a "making of Oblivion" DVD, a special guidebook for the game, and a "Septim" gold-colored coin. I've been patiently waiting for this game for months, so a couple more days won't kill me.