Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A hot time in the old town tonight

The last time I was in a building when the fire alarm went off was in 6th grade and I was excited because it meant missing math. I didn't feel that same excitement at 2:00 this morning when the alarm sounded because a)I don't have math class anymore, and b) we were on the fourteenth floor of a building that was maybe burning to the ground.
It's amazing how scattered thoughts become in early morning emergencies. Luckily I kept it together enough to grab the baby and wake up Stephen, but the lucidity seemed to end there as I spent the next three minutes searching for shoes, which ended up being right next to my bed. We walked into an empty hallway, and I thought maybe we had been fooled since no one else was fleeing the building. But then we entered the stairwell where quite a few fellow residences were descending in a pseudo-panic. A dog crouched in the corner, too traumatized by the noise and crowds to move until his owner grabbed him and carried him down the remaining twelve flights. The further down the stairs we went, the more people we saw, the louder the alarm sounded, and the greater the urgency became. Ivy didn't make a peep, just clung to Stephen, eyes wide, an image that was simultaneously precious and heart breaking.
We finally made it out the lobby door just as two firetrucks pulled up. When we walked outside I expected to look up at our building and see giant flames devouring the roof. Yet there was not an ash in sight. It's amazing how quickly my thoughts transformed from "GET TO SAFETY GET TO SAFETY GET TO SAFETY" to "No fire? Lame." to "I should have grabbed my phone" (the lady doth instagram too much). We sat on the curb for a while while the firefighters inspected the building. Yeah, I was annoyed to have been woken up so early by a false alarm, yeah, I wished I wasn't in my pajamas, and yeah, I was embarrassed about my hair, but there was something kind of great about seeing all our neighbors in their various thrown together outfits (Tinkerbell pajama pants with stockings and loafers was my personal favorite) and all the dogs with their tails wagging, excited to be invited to such a fun party. People smiled at Ivy, who still wasn't crying, but just sitting on my lap watching the two red trucks, the dachshunds playing and the older couple who occasionally waved at her. I hate to wax (or wane) poetic, but it was sort of beautiful and calm so early outside among strangers who sat patiently and waited until the firefighters gave the all clear and we herded back inside.
In a surprisingly orderly fashion we all shuffled into elevators and headed back to our individual apartments to resume our individual lives. Ivy played for a few minutes while we all unwound before falling into a coma sleep at 4am, happy to be fire free, sad to have missed such a good instagram opportunity, and deciding to make a plan in the event of a real fire to save three minutes worth of shoe-searching time.

1 comment:

Don't be shy.