Sunday, January 22, 2012

Building Evacuation Part 1


6:00 in the morning and someone was pounding on the door of my condo, waking me up.

BANG, BANG, BANG!!! “Fire Department!!”

I threw on yesterday's outfit and opened the door. Three firefighters stood in the hall.

“We need to evacuate the building due to high levels of CO2,” one of them told me. “You need to dress warmly and take the stairs down to the waiting buses in front of the building.”

I smiled. Of course I do. Perfect.

The night before we had all been woken up at 1:00am by an announcement that the parking garage was flooding and all vehicles had to be moved to a parking lot across the street.

I had been in bed suffering with a cold for three days. My husband was out of town. Alone in the apartment, tissues littering the floor around my bed, I considered the situation and wondered what would happened if I didn’t move our vehicles. It was the middle of a brutality cold night (-20F) and I was sick. Sighing, I knew I had to get up and just do it.

I was the only one in the hall and the only on the elevator. Odd. But then the car stopped on the next floor and just about every floor after that. We were packed in tight. The elevator lurched slightly, made a couple of strange sounds and someone said, “Too many people!!” When the doors opened again, a few people jumped off.

I moved my car, joining the parade of residents driving across the street, then walked back in the bitter cold, moved the truck and returned to the building. Someone in the lobby asked our apartment manager if we’d get help with the cost of parking.

The cost?? It never crossed my mind that we’d have to pay.

“Unfortunately, that’s your responsibility,” he answered.

Crap. That meant I had to ride the elevator back up the 15th floor to get my wallet so I could walk back to the lot for the third time.

I was dressed warmly, but noticed the fingers on my gloved hands were starting to hurt as I crunched through the snow towards the automated parking payment machine. I decided to get in my car and run the heater for about ten minutes. I sat there, waiting for some warmth and took in the grey scene outside the windshield.

Huh. Should I be scared? I thought. Tall, silent buildings surrounded the parking lot. All of the other residents were gone. It was 2am on a dangerously cold night and I still had to pay for my parking and walk back.

God, I was tired. And pissed. If someone wanted to mess with me, they'd get my keys jabbed into their eyeball! And I think I would have enjoyed it a little. I paid for parking and made it back safely to the comfort of my own warm bed. Story over. Or so I thought.

to be continued....

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