It was a Tuesday night. Or maybe a Friday. Anyway, it doesn't matter what day it was -- it only matters that it was 4 o'clock in the morning on one of the seven days of a week. I was startled awake by....my alarm clock? No, I thought, I still had a good four hours of sleep left......as I came to I realized it was the smoke detector in the apartment. Because of the time of day, and because no one was burning toast, for the first time in my life I actually thought "Fire?!"
I jumped out of bed and met my roommate, Melitto, in the hall. Amid the shrill noise I found myself teetering on a swivel chair batting a broom at the smoke detector on the ten foot ceiling. Finally it stopped. What could have set that off? we thought. I wasn't able to fall back asleep after the whole episode, so I got dressed and left early for school.
I didn't end up returning home until close to midnight that night. As I reached the landing at the top of the stairs I began to realize that something was seriously wrong. The carpeted floor outside the apartment door was littered with drywall debris, which had clearly come from the gaping basketball sized hole that was in the wall. Which had clearly been put there (quite violently) by an axe. Stunned, I peered through the damaged wall into my apartment, sure I'd see evidence of some criminal act. A madman, I thought, A madman had hacked his way into my residence all "Here's Johnny" like. But I saw nothing. Slowly I turned the lock and entered. My roommate's bedroom door was shut, but I heard her faintly call my name from behind it. Oh dear God, the lunatic has her held hostage with a knife to her throat and I'm her only hope! My knees gumbied.
The truth is, friends, my life is simply not that thrilling or dramatic (thankfully). As it turns out that blasted smoke detector went off spontaneously again during the middle of the day when no one was home. Concerned neighbours called the authorities and a couple of fire fighters lumbered their way up the stairs to unit 5 and broke into the apartment by what means they had (so yes, an axe was involved afterall, and, I might add, they missed the fuse panel by about an inch). The reason they went through the wall was because it is apparently a lot less expensive to patch up drywall than install a new lock system. Too bad we missed the action. Although, I suppose there wouldn't have been any action had we been home.....
So all this excitement got me thinking. What if there really was a fire one day? The old building we lived in wouldn't stand a chance, and in fact there was only one exit stair to escape by. If it was blocked, my only option would be to jump from the third storey window and break several bones doing so. I really should have a rope ladder, I thought, and I mentioned this safety concern to Scott, whom I had just started dating (the love story).......
(to be continued......)
speaking of love, I'll sign off with a design for a Valentine's Day card I've been working on this afternoon: