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For no special reason, even!

The fire alarm just went off.

No, not the smoke detector, the building alarm.

I think I was dreaming about Star Trek. o.O

Anyway, it being night, and having lived in a dorm long enough to be irretrievably conditioned, I'm out of bed, in pants, in bathrobe, and with keys, cell phone, coat and harddrive backups in my hands, shoving my feet into shoes, within about thirty seconds of the alarm and probably about twenty seconds before consciousness. The instinct driving my speed goes something like "OMGOMGbuildingonfireorpossiblyunderattackbydrunkenbuttonpushersupupupoutoutout."

Hush, you. It's more coherent when you're panicking.

I'm out into the hall on reflex, locking the door behind me before a guy (about my age, who I didn't even know lived on my floor) in his boxers and a sweatshirt and no shoes tells me, in mid-trudge back to his apartment, "manager says, no fire - somebody set some cooking oil on fire."

I go back into my apartment then because the fire department is arriving. Two big engines and the Fire Marshall van. I peer out the curtains long enough to see that not only are they not in any hurry, but after about eight seconds they wave the second engine on its way and the sirens are off. Well, I think, if the NWFD isn't panicking, damnit, then neither am I.

Total number of people filing out onto the sidewalk in an orderly style? Zero. Except the manager's husband, who is standing with a grunty sort of posture, hands thrust in pockets, talking to the firefighters. Total number of people who actually got out of bed, got dressed(ish) and left their apartments before being told it was a false alarm? Three, that I saw, aside from myself. I heard two other doors slam (this is a rather old, three-story building - you hear doors slam, and that was it). One of the three I saw may have been the one who lit his apartment on fire. I could smell something like food-burning smoke in my corridor, but faintly. Everybody I *saw* was college-age or recently-college-age.

Running through my head as the fire trucks pull away: "Diediediediesomebody'sgoingtodieandwhyweretheycookingwithoilatone-fifteeninthemorninganywaydiediedie."

On the one hand, I'm vaguely proud of how fast I was up and out, *with* my hard-drive backups (now on three DVDs and one CDR), and even actual shoes. (Not ONE WORD about my stopping to save my computer memory. Every one of you would do the same now shut up.) Guess dorm training held. On the other hand, we could do with a better system for letting people know when the Horrible Loud Ringing Noise That Will Not Stop doesn't really mean "We're All Going to Die a Horrible Fiery Death if we Don't Evacuate the Building Immediately", but rather means "Some Idiot Doesn't Know How to Dry Pot Without Setting His Oven On Fire, I'll Slip His Apartment Number Under Your Doors in the Morning if You'd Like to Thank Him for the Wake-Up Call".

On the other other hand, judging by the seriousness with which this building seems to take the Horrible Loud Ringing Noise, should there ever be a real fire, most of us probably will die a horrible fiery death. That would be a really stupid Darwin Award. It wouldn't even be a top placer. Can you think of a more embarassing way to die? *eyeroll*

And now the adrenaline is ebbing, and I'm getting sleepy again, and need only wait for them to make the Horrible Loud Ringing Noise stop.

...

...

...

Ah. There. Good night. Wish me non-flammable dreams, yes? ;)

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reeciebastion
chandri
Chandri MacLeod
Fantasi.net

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