Monday, September 8, 2008

Not exactly what you want to hear at 3 am.

The light flicks on in the courtyard area behind our apartment, shining through our blinds and onto the ceiling.

People are talking, though, through the window it's hard to hear what they're saying beyond murmured mumbles.

A chorus of sirens whines through the night, but that's not unusual since we live relatively close to a hospital.

Somehow Charlie and I both wake up right about the time that we hear the neighbor out in the courtyard say, in a flat, alarm-less voice, "Fire."

We look at one another, and I don't remember who it was that asked, "Should we go see what's going on?" but, we both throw sweatshirts on and walk out in our pjs.

The back courtyard is full of red flashing lights, and we can see them strobing in through our kitchen window.

We look out the front windows, and there are three or four big fire trucks parked in the street directly in front of our apartment building.

Putting flip-flops on, we go outside to try and see what's happening. Our neighbor from upstairs is on the porch next to ours, smoking a cigarette. He's in his pj's too. We talk for a minute: no, it's not our building that's on fire. He says that he thought about starting to pitch his worldly belongings from the window for a moment, though.

Idiotically, I say something to the tune of, "Wow, I think I can smell smoke or something," forgetting, of course that he's standing there smoking. Obviously, it's 3 am, and even though I feel wide-awake, my brain isn't firing on all cylinders yet. I try to cover it up by saying something to the effect of, "I thought I smelled something when I woke up, too."

Charlie and I decide to see if we can see better what's going on, and head part way around the block in one direction and then the other. We pause by the alley long enough to watch the fire fighters put a ladder up against a building just to the rear of ours. They climb onto the roof and stomp around.

There's water from their hoses all over the ground.

It's all kind of anonymous and dream-like. Some guy (I think he lives in our building, but I could be wrong, it was late, but he looked vaguely familiar), stops and asks if we're checking out the excitement in the neighborhood. We nod and mutter something inane and inarticulate, transfixed by the alien men in full-body equipment and the red blinking lights.

Then, assured that everything is under control, and that our building isn't going to burn down around our ears, we try to go back to bed and back to sleep. I distinctly remember Charlie's watch beeping at 4 am, however, and I think it was light out before I really, really fell back into any sort of a restful sleep.

In other surreal-ness, when I got up this morning, there was a lone bagpiper playing somewhere outside. I think he was practicing. It went on, quite literally, for TWO HOURS. Hello alternate reality Boise universe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude, there was just a crazy fire over here too--one of those old warehouses between hawthorne and belmont, kind of by the river (at least, that's what it looked like). There was all this super angry-looking black smoke when James and I were biking home today that made our eyes all stingy and our lungs all gross. I haven't been able to find anything about it online yet, but it was kind of freaky. And the super windiness of today was probably no help.

Anyway, glad you're okay and that you didn't have to throw all your stuff out the window. Yipes!