I walked into the K-2 computer lab, ready to service one of the desktops.
Roughly twenty 1st graders sat clicking away - their darling young faces illuminated by bright LCD screens; their heads gently cradled by giant plastic headphones - as Reading Blaster assaulted their senses.
In the back of the room sat the teacher and her assistant - the latter wearing large sunglasses despite the fact that it’s currently February 13th in Rochester, NY and we haven’t seen the sun in approximately 5 months.
“Oh good, are you here for my desktop?”
“I am! Which one is it?”
“It’s #20, on the end of the row there.”
That’s when I first hear the sound. It echoed forth from the back row like a shotgun blast in an empty cave. I held my breath, made my way down the row, and took my seat at the computer. A few seconds passed before another shot rang out, this time closer. Too close, in fact. Right behind me.
“You’re going to want to get out of here as soon as you can! This whole building is sick!”
As I turn to acknowledge the teacher’s warning, I’m assaulted by a third explosion. The attack had officially begun. I looked directly behind me and saw an adorable little girl wiping her nose onto the pink sleeve of her Dora sweatshirt. Before I could turn back towards my computer, another shot was heard from across the lab. Then another, from the same area, but definitely a different weapon. Within moments, the lab was filled with a deafening chorus of filth.
“She’s got pink eye!”
She. With the sunglasses. Of course.
Quickly, I repaired the computer and stood to make my escape. The air in the lab had become thick with invisible bacteria and viruses - unseeable by the eye, yet unavoidable by the immune system - like the countless billions of galaxies that mankind has yet to discover across the vast, cold, and dark expanse of the universe.
My eyes plotted the quickest path to the exit before my brain remembered that I had just been touching keyboards and mice that live in the warzone - each of them hundreds of times more infectious than any of the 3-month old magazines that rest on the table at your doctor’s office. Without breaking stride, my brain took command and rerouted me to the nearest Purell dispenser. Calmly walking past it, I silently pumped three squirts into each palm, exited the lab, and began my defense.