My office, in this post 9/11 world, is rather particular about security. You see, we have in our hot little hands and files some critical design information about the nation's water and wastewater facilities. Because of this, we take securing that info, and of course our people, pretty seriously.
Main doors are open for entry only during fixed work hours. Beyond those hours, you can use a swipe card to gain entry. On 4 floors, entry to stairwells and/or any staff area from the hallway requires a swipe card 24 hours of the day. Needless to say, we keep our swipe cards on our person at all times.
This weekend, I stopped into the office after my full day of school. I plugged in my computer, called Hubby with a location/status update, and determined while the computer was logging in to take a bathroom break and get a soda. As I exited my department into the hall, the door swung shut right behind me and BAM! I realized my swipe card was sitting on my desk.
On any regular workday, no sweat, you borrow a visitor pass from reception and get back in. On a Saturday after 5pm, the place was pretty much a ghost town. After rambling around the square hallway passages for a few moments trying every door in vain and looking for signs of other weekend workers...I sat down in reception to think. I wasn't panicked, but I was certainly and frustratingly puzzled as to how to solve this problem short of calling 911.
I tried the extensions for the IT helpdesk (supposed to be manned 24x7) and the general counsel's office (he is a maniac worker here about 24x7) but no answer. I then determined to call my Hubby....but I forgot the lobby phones are not enabled for external calls. Finally, I decided to try calling the external operator - and after an annoying long pause, it finally clicked through. I made a collect call (what a blast from the past...don't think I've done that since my poverty-stricken college days) home.
For once, my forgetfulness was helpful as I had left my blackberry at home and Hubby was able to mine it for some of my colleague's home numbers. Before any of them could save me however, I heard the telltale swish and clang of the elevator in motion. I jumped to the wall and hit every button there was and started calling, "Helloooooo....Helloooooooo" into the crack in the door. With my lips nearly attached to the elevator doors, they slid open, and there were some rather shifty looking characters as surprised to see me as I was to see them. They were in the building doing some necessary electrical repairs. Their passes allowed me access and soon I was back at my desk.
Today, I considered sending a note to our building manager for a consideration of punch key pads to alleviate this situation, but I was afraid his response would be, "Since I've only heard of this happening once in 30 years here and it was you, perhaps I would suggest that you not let the door hit you in the ass on the way out...at least not without your swipe card in hand."