Cassidy and I had to go up to my work last night to borrow the paper cutter to use for her history fair project. The building was dark and empty and I made her go with me because I knew I would get the creeps going in there alone at night. Being in an empty office building does bring out the kid in me, though. I usually have a strong urge to just start running around.
It always takes me back to when I was a kid. I spent many hours at my mom’s office after hours. My mom worked at our church so it was like having full access to a whole world of fun. I used to walk there after school and hang out until it was time to go home.
I had so many options of things to do while I was there. I would often invite a girl to come along who walked home the same way I did. Her family owned the small Mexican restaurant located across from the church so we used to alternate going to the church to play or to the restaurant and pretending to "wait" tables. Sometimes I'd bring other friends along that lived nearby but many times it was just me.
I preferred having a friend because otherwise, I wasn’t brave enough to play in the empty building alone. It was a large church with four separate buildings, all large in size. We could go down to the nursery and play with the dolls. They had cribs, swings, walkers, etc. and we could play nursery or house, or use one of the many empty Sunday school classrooms and play school. We could go over to the gym and play volleyball or basketball. The gym also had a big cafeteria style kitchen and a fully furnished upstairs like apartment with couches, a kitchen and tables that we could play house in. Whenever I was there alone I used to follow the janitors around and talk their ears off. I would help them clean but eventually get preoccupied with my own entertainment. I was like their shadow. I’d follow them from room to room and do my own thing. While they cleaned the Sanctuary I'd play the organ or piano or run around up and down the pews or the stage. It was really cool to have access to everything while it was empty. If the janitors weren't there and I ended up all alone I'd just play "office" or "secretary" in one of the empty offices near my mom's, or read a book in the library. I never recall being bored when I was there.
A few years ago my husband had an extra job working security at an empty chemical plant. The plant had closed and was on the market to sell but they were keeping 24-hour security on site until it sold. The officer's who worked there had set up a little office with a couch, computer and DVD player and all they really had to do was make sure no one came onto the property without permission. It was a piece of cake job for them. The place was huge and almost completely empty. There were a few desks and chairs left but almost everything had been sold.
I used to take the kids up there to hang out and keep him company on Friday nights. After our first few visits we decided to take the dogs. We had a blast. We used the empty conference room to play paper baseball. The dogs ran around not sure what to think of all the empty space. The kids and I always played hide and seek and the dogs would try to keep up. What must've been a chemical laboratory was empty and really spooky looking. I would hide in there and then when the kids would come looking for me I'd pretend I was going to "cook" them in this big glass stove looking thing that was scary looking even to me. We'd run from room to room and chase each other. It was so much fun.
Out in the actual "plant" it was like a three story warehouse looking place with showers to be used for chemical spills and several of these huge empty containers where they mixed chemicals. They had ladders going down to the bottom on the inside. The thought of someone crawling down into one of those things made me feel weak in the knees. The inside of this thing resembled a giant blender with the metal blades that were built into the bottom. It had a lid on top that opened and when I looked down into this thing I wanted to faint! It's amazing to think that we're surrounded by chemical plants around here and for many people close to me climbing into one of those containers would be the norm.
The dogs would run the grounds with us and the feeling of having this huge, empty facility to ourselves totally brought out the kid in me. Those are some good memories. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and the plant eventually sold. It sure made for some cheap Friday night entertainment for me and the kids while it lasted. I think my husband even enjoyed it. We never got him to play hide and seek but he was all for the paper baseball.