Who’s to blame? Government or media?
Or me, for believing either?
Yes, I knew the Presidential Alert system was being tested, and I knew it was to be at 2:18 pm EST. I knew the text would be sent to all cell phones.
But on the way into work, I heard on the radio that older flip phones, like mine, would not be able to receive that text. Only people with smartphones would be affected.
I liked that. I didn’t want to be bothered at exactly 2:18 pm EST. I didn’t want to be reminded of elementary school, when those emergency system messages were broadcast on TV and radio:
“Beeeeeep. This is a test. It is only a test.”
Sure, it is. If it’s only a test, then why are me and all my friends standing in the school hallway with our faces to the wall and our hands over our heads. Like that’s really going to protect us from those A-bombs.
It was a slow work day. Both bosses were gone, and the other secretary had left for her usual noon-to- 1 pm lunch. While she was out, I decided to eat my sandwich at my desk, thereby freeing up my 1-2 pm lunch period in order to run an errand or two.
I took along my trusted point-and-click camera (yes, the Nikon’s still in the shop), hoping to ply my
trade craft hobby and maybe get a few decent shots. Not to be. The weather was crappy, I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic, and the best I could do was this Fall display at the grocery store:
On the way back to the office, I did spot a sign outside an apartment building, which declared:
“Free pizza with this apartment!”
But traffic was too heavy to pull over and take a photo, and I was already running a little late. So, as usual, I let the opportunity pass.
By the time I returned to the office after my lunch period, I had totally forgotten about the scheduled Presidential Alert text.
They lied. Flip phones did get that text, along with a really loud, annoying emergency tone (rather than my phone’s normal musical tone for text messages). And, of course, since I had forgotten about it, I jumped when the phone went off.
I so wanted to respond, but there was no “Reply” option on that particular text message.
Hopefully, it was a one-time test. I hate tests.
(Were it a real emergency situation, I would be hiding under my desk with my eyes closed and my hands over my ears – ’cause that absolutely would protect me, right?)
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom