The Non-Fire

I woke up this morning and wandered into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. For some reason, I kept the old, wet grounds that were languishing in the french press from the day before and added only one scoop of new grounds. I knew that this process was going to end up making terrible coffee, but part of my brain told me to keep going with it. I even promised myself that I would not admit to the Palinode that I was reusing the scungy grounds from yesterday's coffee.

Sometimes, especially when I first wake up in the morning, my brain doesn't work properly, and I end up doing things that are both unreasonable and unnecessary. This is how I have ended up with different kinds of deodorant in each armpit or transporting a rock from my street across town in my pocket on the way to work. It goes something like this: one day, my brain says You must butter only the edges of your toast this morning, and then I do just that, eat only the edges, and throw away the middle. Oh, were you looking for an explanation? THERE ISN'T ONE. I'm just crazy before ten o'clock.

I was in the middle of this making of the really bad coffee for no good reason when the fire alarms in our apartment building went off. I thought Well that's fecking annoying, and checked the hallway to see if the red fire alarm light on the wall was flashing. It was. I figured that that was as good a time as any to put on some pants, and after that, I thought that I should probably wet my hair, because it looked really screwy, and then, hell, why not pat on some foundation to even out the old complexion? I wouldn't want to look like I'd just crawled out of bed while standing on the front lawn in the rain waiting for fire trucks to show up.

Somehow, trying to look decent in what might have been a burning building made sense to me at the time. For someone who lies awake at night freaking out because, OH MY GOD, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE ONE DAY, I was insanely calm about the fire alarms blaring right outside my apartment door. When death is remote, I can barely breathe with the thought of it, but when death might quite possibly be a reality, I am armed with a bottle of foundation so I can look good for the neighbours. I think I need to have my priorities recalibrated.

Eventually, the Palinode and I managed to make our way down to the stoop, and because we are so very smart, we stayed there for a while rather than heading out to the sidewalk. We are fire retarded.

on the stoop

After standing out there for fifteen minutes, the lot of us realized that fire department was not responding to the alarm. We were all under the impression that public fire alarms alerted the fire department directly, but not so in this case, so someone decided to call 911. We were all also under the impression that a 911 operator would stay on the line to talk to you, but we were wrong on that front, as well. 911 put us on hold. On hold! Now we and the other tenants in the building feel secure in the knowledge that both the fire department and 911 are looking out for our well-being, at least after all our stuff has been engulfed in flames.

fire truck

Finally, two fire trucks showed up. There was no leaping to action from their vehicles to attack the fire, carry out victims, and save the day. There


definitely relaxed loping to our front door and pausing to talk with bedraggled tenants.


The firemen walked through the building, asked some questions, and found nothing burning anywhere. That kind of bummed me out a little. After standing in the rain for half an hour, I wanted some sort of climax, but the whole thing kind of came off as one, long, damp denouement.

I just complained about how our building was not on fire this morning. That thing I said about getting my priorities recalibrated? I should get on that.

50x365 #261: Nikki

50x365 #260: Joe E.