Friday, November 02, 2007

I'd better see flames next time!

My apartment building's fire alarm went off for at least the fourth time since I moved in six weeks ago. (I assume it's gone off a few times when I wasn't home.) This is an unexpected drawback to high-rise living, though I should have remembered it from my days in the Warren Towers dorm at Boston University. The alarm at home is even more intrusive than the one in my office. At least at work, I can't see the flashing lights or hear the "please leave the building" announcements from my little desk in a corner, and I can stay put until our receptionist sends an e-mail to everyone saying that, yes, we probably should head down the stairs. At home, I was once jolted awake at 3:30 a.m. by a female voice telling me that the "sound you have just heard indicates a report of an emergency in the building." It wasn't the alarm that woke me up, mind you; it was the shock of a female voice in my bedroom. (I guess they use women to deliver distressing news for the same reasons that women announcers are used in negative campaign ads.) I was already skeptical about the alarm system, so I took the time to get completely dressed, comb my hair, and put my wallet and cell phone in my coat pocket before carefully locking my door behind me. Sadly, just about everyone had the same idea, and I was not treated to the sight of my neighbors in semi-naked states or in embarrassing sleepwear. And the only real excitement was when we filed back into the building from the sidewalk and the guy in front of me tripped and fell over the suitcase-on-wheels that the woman in front of him was pulling. (It was black, and thus invisible in the dark.) The past two alarms have happened late in the morning when I was on vacation and thus not yet showered or dressed. Both times, I put on shoes as slowly as possible and waited for the alarm to stop so I didn't have to actually leave. My reasoning was that electricity was still working, so things couldn't be that bad. (There should be a manual method to let tenants know that the automated alarm shouldn't be ignored, like cutting the power or sending out bat-signals in the sky.) Anyway, the daytime fire alarms have dashed my dreams of becoming a full-time pajamas blogger. That, and the fact that I don't own a pair of pajamas.

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