My family and I recently moved to Montreal. After a few weeks of searching we found the perfect little apartment in a rather large building. The joys of living in such a building were revealed on Monday night when the fire alarm went off at 11:20 p.m.
I jump out of bed, wide awake, quickly opening bedroom doors in an attempt to gather up my various family members. That’s what I’d take with me in a fire–my family. My parents, half a sleep, have different ideas.
Mama goes searching for her keys. I can’t help but think that it’s not what I would take in a fire. After all, the metal’s worthless if it doesn’t have anything to open.
Papa decides he wants to put a long sleeve shirt on, and takes his sweet time changing into it.
It’s a good thing there wasn’t a real fire because like an idiot I wait for them. My thought process being something like, “ I can’t just leave them. I’m a good daughter I am!”
Too many minutes later, everyone is out the door and we embark down eight flights of stairs.
They lead into the lobby where our neighbors are milling about. Mama stares at the keys in her hand, “Ugh…I took the mail keys” she sighs. I’m not really sure why she bothered with keys at all.
If there had been a real fire a good portion of our neighbors would not have made it. Their reaction times were even slower than my parents. They didn’t even bother coming down for a full twenty minutes and by that time the alarm had stopped ringing.
The firemen came right away. That was reassuring…until they tried to take the elevator. Despite the flashing emergency light they press the button over and over again. Nothing happens–so they press it some more.
Shoulders slumping they glance at each other. The alarm system was not indicating the guilty apartment. A few firemen break off from the group, while those remaining continue to exhibit their button pressing skills.
One of them takes a quick peek at the stairs, obviously reluctant to climb them. The other slowly paces around the lobby while staring at the ceiling, as though it will provide an answer. After a solid two minutes he rejoins the rest of the group at the elevator to stare at the flashing “EM” for emergency. They continue to tap, tap, tap the button.
“Ugh” an elderly woman across from us exclaims, “ Why, they’re still trying to take the elevator! Even I know not to do that. It’s fire safety 101. Maybe I should help them?”
She watches them for a few moments, listening to the click of the button, “ Well I think I’m gonna go tell them how to do their job now. “ She announces.
Soon after the alarm suddenly stops and the firemen depart. Our neighbors quickly take their place in front of the elevator. They hit the button. We hear the ding of the doors opening as we huff and puff our way back up eight flights of stairs,courageously doing what the firemen would not.