Monday, June 29, 2009

stop, drop and roll...

After walking home from Pride because I had better odds of catching a unicorn than catching a cab, I collapsed on my bed and decided to take a nap. But since it was so gorgeous outside, I opened all of the windows and then, just to be extra homey, lit a subtle “Beach House” scented candle.
I looked like an advertisement for Ambien as I drifted off to sleep.
All of a sudden, my alarm began to go off, and as I raced to the alarm panel, I realized, “What the fuck? My alarm isn’t even on!”
I wandered back in my room when…OH MY GOD. It's the fire detector.
The curtain above that Beach House candle was in flames as apparently, the open window blew curtain right into the path of the candle.
When I say flames, I mean that literally. FLAMES.
I know what you’re thinking. And yes, I attended 3rd Grade. I was not sick on Fire Safety Day. I had my photo taken with Smokey the Bear. And still, 22 years later I lit a candle near a cheaply made curtain and left it unattended.
I grabbed a skirt from the floor (a green, floral Liz Claiborne number picked up at Ross) and started smacking the flames. It actually worked! But embers of melting, sheer white curtain were flying everywhere, dotting holes on my duvet cover and flying over to my dress form, covered in a vintage kimono, a Mr. T-esque collection of necklaces and a gigantic straw hat. Within seconds, the kimono, the form and the hat were all on fire.
When they say that fire travels fast, they’re not fucking around. I quickly realized that at some point, I was going to have to decide when to give up and let my house burn down.
My father, whom I regard as slightly paranoid, had purchased me a fire extinguisher years ago, but it rested a few rooms away in the kitchen, a logical location for a fire extinguisher if you ask me. I can’t believe I was actually considering using one. That skirt kept flying through the air, batting down flames as the fire alarm continued its screams for help.
No one came, by the way. I once burned a quesadilla to the tune of seven firefighters in my home. Yesterday, I was inhaling serious smoke and hollering bloody murder as I fought actual flames. Not a siren in sight.
The very moment I was ready to dive for my phone in the living room and record what I hope would be a very famous 911 call, I pretty much got everything under control. Shaking, I dragged a dining room chair into my boudoir, climbed on top of it and dismantled my fire alarm. Then I took stock of the damage, which includes the death of the kimono, straw sun hat, duvet cover, sleeve of my new silk top and of course, the curtain, which will be saved for haunted house props. I went over that whole side of the room with a wet towel, hoping to catch any last embers before they erupted into my funeral pyre. I then put my fire alarm back together, because I might be incredibly stupid but I’m not so stupid as to ignore the loss of a kimono. I had big plans for that kimono.
I went to the bathroom to run cold water over my hands, which had sustained minor burns and looked at myself in the mirror.
Disheveled hair, black soot smudges from where I’d rubbed my eyes, shaking and in shock.
“Jesus Christ.” I panted. “What the fuck is going on?!?!”
My teeth have decided to escape their bindings, I’m absent-mindedly setting my house on fire and my boss just realized that payroll has forgotten to withhold Federal Income Tax. What is God trying to tell me? Because I’m boarding a plane on Wednesday and if there’s something I should know, I can gladly reschedule…


Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding the loss of the kimono, it sounds as if Bea Arthur was watching over you.

Unsympathetic Brother said...

God is probably trying to tell you to go to the dentist more often and not to leave open flames unattended.

alphadog said...

truly epic flaming pride, I have no idea how you saved your room it should all be gone. You are srsly lucky

Karyn said...

Holy shit Beth!!!!

Stephanie said...

My goodness! That's worse than the time I turned the oven on without realizing my husband left a pizza box in it. Lots of smoke, a fire extinguisher, and evacuation of an infant, 2 dogs, a cat & a ferret. That was a fun night.
As far as the flight goes, don't worry unless you're getting on an Airbus 380.

Be_Devine said...

OMG! OMG! And you didn't call me? You call me when you get a blister for fear that it might be AIDS, but you don't call when your house is on fire!!

Anonymous said...

Similar happened to me in high school with incense. Just in case you were considering switching burnables.

Melissa said...

@Devine - I'm SO with you! We could have brought over beef jerky or something!

Amy said...

OK, I know it was super scary and nerve wracking, but your writing made it a great funny story! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

My reactions, in order:


b) OhdearbabyJesusBethareyouOKthatwasactuallykindofharrowingtoread. (Breathe)

c) Snicker. Hee hee. Funny writing.

d) What Brian Devine waid was perhaps even funnier (and certainly more economically crafted) than what you wrote.

e) Clemens, you jackass - Beth Almost Died. Really, She Did. Horribly. And while working, rather than while being tended to by tall, attractive men. You should be more sympathetic.

f) that was pretty funny.

BETH. Damnit. You captured the elusive zeitgeist that lives between Real-Life-Thrills and Hysterically Funny. David Sedaris is about to sue you, I'm sure. GET THIS PUBLISHED SOMEWHERE. NOW.



Anonymous said...

why I am not happy when the kids leave home...gee thanks

Spots said...

Thanks kids!
The more I think about it, the more I realize how fucking scary it was. It happened so fast! As for not calling anyone, because my mother was just as shocked as my friends, I have to say I was kinda embarassed. There was nothing to do about it, anyway.
As opposed to this blister on my foot...

Spots said...

Lest you think the real hero wasn't recognized, my father stood up at "Good Times," a part of a Mill Valley Rotary Club meeting in which members donate money if they've got good news. As my alarm was installed by fellow Rotarian, Mr. Rider, Mill Valley Rotary received my fire story, a generous donation and a round of applause for Redwood Security Systems...