i guess it had to come around to me eventually sometime
the power of donuts
Kelly stayed over last night. We arose in the morning and had pursued breakfast. I had done my German homework already the night before, but wanted to go over to Carnegie Hall to the Cartography Lab do some GIS work. Kelly, meanwhile, wanted to play Scrabble. Well, really, i wanted to play Scrabble too.
Soon, my housemate Marnie came in. "Wie geht's?", i asked her. She responded, "Eynhhhh... My class just got cancelled. Because of an anthrax scare. Carnegie's closed until further notice." It turns out mysterious white powder was found in the stairwell between floors two and three. A security guard came up to the door of the classroom and ordered the class to evacuate the west exit immediately.
My plans for homework had been ever so sadly dashed. However, our alternate plan for Scrabble was also dashed, as i'm the photo editor for the Mac Weekly, our student newspaper. I grabbed my camera and we headed over to Carnegie to capture the unfolding madness.
I ran into Loren on the way, and commented that i really needed to get that cd back to her. I then asked where she was going. "Carnegie." "Good luck," we said. We got to the building. It was close to class-changing time, so there was a crowd of students out front who had just discovered the building to be closed, wondering where to go, what to do next. I got photos of them. I got photos of custodians guarding the doors. I got photos of "BUILDING CLOSED" signs on the doors. I got the HazMat team when they came. In short, i got a bunch of photos that would be interesting for our paper, but nothing of note for the Star Tribune photographer i talked with and offered photos. (Ah well, fun though it would have been to have my photos in the Minneapolis newspaper...)
The HazMat team came, took samples, and went away. Amid all the excitement, i talked briefly to Rabbi Bernie Raskas, a religious studies prof, on the way to the Campus Center to check my mail. He had moved his class from Carnegie to the Campus Center. He talked about having lived in Jerusalem, and the need never to give in to terror. About half of the classes held in Carnegie had been moved elsewhere, most of them to the meeting rooms in the Campus Center. Mine, however, had been cancelled, probably because without the projector for the planned PowerPoint show of our recent work and without the Cart Lab, there wasn't much to do.
I called home to tell them about the story, mostly in case there was a false positive test for anthrax (no one really believed it was anything harmful at our little liberal arts college in fucking Minnesota) and it got out into the national newsmedia, to reassure my family that i had not been in the building. My grandmother asked if i was worried. I wasn't. I was annoyed. This shouldn't be happening at my school. This has all got to stop. The madness that this country has been plunged into is absurd, a madness i rarely perceive trapped in my ivory tower college bubble. I suppose it had to happen sometime; it's happened at St. Catherine's University, just minutes from here, it's happened in City Hall back home; it's not hard for white powder to show up. But why do i have to live in a world where salt, sugar, or non-dairy creamer is mistaken for a deadly weapon?
A few hours later, the building reopened. I was told it was powdered sugar. Someone probably dropped their donut...
...a donut that brought out the St. Paul fire department HazMat team.