Thursday Tidbits

Posted on January 16, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

Locked Out


Darlene’s Dilemma

Weather forecast: Hypothermia likely without protective clothing this evening through late Sunday night.

It has been another long, harrowing day at work. The teacher in this school in Northern Quebec was exhausted both physically and mentally. And why wouldn’t she be? Teaching in the north is not for the faint of heart. Double that if you happen to be an administrator. Most of these people would cite “educational leader” as a top of list job description. Crisis manager might be more appropriate.

The first week back to school or work for most Canadians after the Christmas holidays is a shock to the system. In schools, students and teachers are sleep deprived. It takes awhile to get back in the groove. In addition to all the other issues demanding her attention, the school vehicle fleet had Darlene at her wits end. The school had three trucks which were used by all the staff to go for groceries, water and to do runs to the airport. All of them had issues.

The trucks seemed as tired and cranky as everyone else after the break. Frequent breakdowns and failure to start in the cold weather were giving the staff fits. After work, Darlene parked the one working vehicle behind her apartment building to keep it sheltered from the wind.
Late in the evening after dinner and a hot shower, she decided to go out and start the truck just to keep the engine warm. She went out the rarely used back door (a fire exit). The truck was only a dozen or so feet from the door, so she didn’t bother throwing on a coat, hat or gloves.

The truck roared to life, which was one piece of good news, possibly the only one of the day. She made a dash for the back door and discovered to her chagrin that it was locked and couldn’t be opened from the outside. Her hair stiffened in the bitter arctic air as she pondered her dilemma. She knew that the front door of her apartment was also locked. At least the cab of the truck was warm.
She had a young boarder living with her, but he wasn’t home. It was 10:00 p.m. There was no cell service in this community so calling the maintenance crew for a spare key wasn’t an option. The temperature was hovering close to -50. She had to find the boarder, so she drove over to the boarder’s family home.

Just walking from the truck to the front door in these temperatures caused her wet head of hair to go off in all directions. She looked like an abandoned cat. Several raps on the door got the desired results. There was one small problem. In her consternation and being somewhat flustered by the whole affair, she had gone to the wrong house. Everybody in the community knew Darlene so one could only imagine what these folks were thinking when she showed up dressed in casual night wear.

She eventually made it to the boarder’s family home and found out his whereabouts. This required a drive across town. She eased out of the driveway and headed off in search of the house key. This required a trip down towards the water. The road down to the bay was very steep. A recent snowfall followed by frigid temperatures had left all the town streets resembling skating rinks. She inched down the hill. The truck had a mind of its own and started to slide out on control. She gingerly applied pressure to the brakes but this only made matters worse as the truck picked up speed as it careened towards the bay. A few snowbanks near the bottom of the hill saved her from an “excursion around the bay”.

She arrived home, cold and disheveled. This had been a hair-raising experience by any measure.

To calm down, she made herself a nice cup of hot chocolate and thought she would unwind with a movie: “Frozen”



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