Fire Engine Red

26 Jan

Tonight, as I stood in the 39-degree evening wearing only pajamas and a bathrobe, watching smoke pour out of the next building and taking stock of the pocketful of items I’d grabbed on my way out admist the alarms and strobe lights, I found myself deeply frustrated that I hadn’t grabbed my Walker Stalker Con Disability Services binder.

Not that I was woefully underdressed. Not that I’d spent 10 valuable minutes chasing two panicked rabbits around the apartment while visions of smoke and flames filled my imagination. Not even that I’d left my external hard drive with my entire digital life on it sitting on the desk. No, I regretted not grabbing that blue binder.

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My life in page protector form

This is what Con life has done to me. However, it did give me an opportunity for another awkwardly empowering moment.

When the alarms went off, everything went haywire. The bunnies bolted. I tried to grab 10 things at once. I found myself walking to my bedroom as if I had time to put on proper pants. I’m usually the level headed one in an emergency, but tonight, I couldn’t pull it together.

After I had finally managed to get both rabbits into the same bag (a feat which involved me grabbing a random neighbor whose name I do not know out of the hallway, and having him hold up a couch so that I could drag a terrified white rabbit out from underneath it), I grabbed the three things sitting on the counter nearest me and made for the door.

It was only after I was outside that I truly realized what I was wearing, and why my subconscious had sent me to the bedroom to get dressed. It wasn’t  much. A tank top, a pair of red pajama pants, a fluffy red bathrobe, and a pair of converse, sans socks, is all that stood between me and the very cold nighttime air.

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Oh, and every single one of my neighbors, including the rather attractive new guy, were also outside.

Awkward, yes. But before I could get truly embarrassed, my subconscious kicked in to make up for its earlier lapse in judgement.

As the fire trucks rolled up, I realized that it didn’t matter what I was wearing, or that I’d been wearing it since the previous evening. It didn’t matter that I had my pets in purple carrier slung over my shoulder while everyone else had dogs on leashes. In that moment, I was the converse-wearing, pajama-loving, slightly-unshowered, bunny-owning girl that I am, and I’d have been darned if I was going to let anyone judge me for it. (After all, if the building is burning down and you have time to judge someone’s evening attire, I want the name of your insurance agent. Because that’s confidence right there.)

For a truly frightening moment while still inside, I thought I’d have to leave Alice behind. I couldn’t find her and I didn’t know where the fire was. All I knew was that the alarm had been going off far too long to be false. All my energy had been spent caring about those furballs, and I had none left for people whose names I don’t know.

The building may have been a teensy bit on fire, but so was I. Even better, we both made it through the evening with no permanent damage. The important things were safe and sound. Everything else could be replaced.

Except that blue binder. I haven’t backed those files up yet.

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