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!”
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
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…