I would like to preface this story by letting you all know that I am not proud. I have a terrible sense of direction, and sometimes my life is like a cat trying to find its way out of a paper bag. But this is a challenge that I accept, and I will ball up my tiny fists and forge ahead in the face of all my missteps and wrong turns.
I wish I could say that the dumbest thing I ever did was when I was in the sixth grade or younger, but instead I have to tell you that I was a sophomore in college, “doing work ahead of time.” It was a rainy day in November, and I was on the science quad with my roommate Sarah. Sarah is a Math major, so she knows the “squad” better than I. If I remember correctly, we were in a study room on the third floor of Tomsich when I decided to take a Peirce break and go get coffee.
“How the heck do you get out of this building, anyway?” I asked Sarah, trying to play it off as kind of joke but also genuinely asking for directions because the Science Quad is like the rat king of academic buildings.
“…you walk down the stairs until you walk out the door?” she answered, without coddling me or giving me the extensive directions I craved. These directions make a lot of sense, right? Right. Except somehow I proceeded to fuck everything up.
I left the study room and walked down one flight of stairs, and then another… and then another… until it was apparent that I was somewhere in the basement. Being naïve but confident, which is never a helpful combination, I decided that the logical next step was to find a creative exit. I was probably thinking something like, “I don’t have to walk back up the stairs to the first floor, because I’m awesome!” and then I opened the nearest door to check out the scene. This was VERY OBVIOUSLY not an exit to the building, but a door to the loading dock at the back of the building that opened out onto the parking lot. There was NO REASON I should have walked out that door. But of course I decided to “check to see if the door would lock from the outside.” I think I thought that I could just walk around the back of the building to the front and everything would be fine, but let me assure you that THIS IS NOT A THING. Once you step out onto the loading dock behind Tomsich and the door clicks behind you (literally why did I do this), there’s no convenient way back in. After lots of flustered pacing around I called Sarah who came to my stupid rescue and let me inside out of the cold.
And so you have heard “The story that I made Sarah swear never to tell anyone.” I wish I could say that there was a moral beyond, “Don’t be an idiot like me.” Mostly my advice to you is this: when leaving a building, only use the doors properly labeled “Exit.”