Picture it: Sicily I mean Tucson, a beautiful day in mid April, a 1950’s era home with doors and windows flung wide, a breeze full of deliciously fresh spring air dancing from door to door and door to window.
It was about 12:30pm on Thursday and I was contemplating making my lunch while doing something on the laptop, probably reading Twitter,while Jayden snuggled beside me on the couch. All was quiet and lovely and I was in a wonderful mood after a surprise from iTunes that morning.
After preordering the new Josh groban album, Stages, I was confused to hear the tritone chime alerting me to new downloads. Since the album isn’t out until the twenty-eighth I wasn’t expecting a download. Was it because I preordered the deluxe version? I knew some of the songs were out in the wild since I’d read tweets from people commenting on them. I have avoided reading the song list or listening to any of the new ones, wanting to experience the album song by song, sight unseen.
Curious, I searched my library for Stages and had songs! What was this magic? I didn’t check how many, wondering which songs they would be, anticipation building as I grabbed my bluetooth speaker and settled in to listen.
I had four new Josh Groban songs! four! Is it April 28 yet? April has been an awesome month for books and music, I must say.
So a few hours later as I contemplated making my turkey and radish sandwich before my Thursday call, relaxed back on the couch with my laptop, it took me a few seconds to understand the sudden horrible blaring screeching noise, Jayden bounding off the couch and running, cats running, everyone running and the blaring, was it coming from outside? No. In the house? yes. Do I smell smoke? No. Jayden was leaping around, nails clicking on the tile floor, if the screeching was hurting me it must be killing him.
Follow the sound, it was bouncing off tile and walls, bedroom? windows open in there, the only windows with screens. Neighbor burning weeds again? blaring. I can’t hear myself think. I can’t see. I can’t hear, anything but the blaring. Is something on fire? I don’t smell smoke. Are we ok? I don’t smell smoke. Bedroom, it would be up near the ceiling. run my hands along the rough brick of what used to be the outside of the house. I mutter the word help. A neighbor will hear the blaring and come to help. I can’t reach it. Run out of the bedroom, close the door.
Hurry away from the sound. Pull my phone from my pocket. B might be taking a lunch break. He has working eyes. He can come make the sound stop.
Ding ding: Call B.
Siri: Calling B.
ring ring. Ring ring. ring ring. voicemail.
Hi, um everything is fine and nothing is on fire but the fire alarm thing is going and I can’t stop it but you didn’t answer, think I’ll call the fire department just in case.
Ding ding: Call 911.
Siri: calling emergency in five seconds.
Blaring fire alarm. Head pounding. Nervous giggles threatening.
Silicon Sally: What is your emergency?
Silicone Sally? Seriously?
Um, fire alarm is going off.
Dispatcher, a real woman.
Your fire alarm is going off?
Yes and I’m blind. I don’t smell smoke.
Her voice takes on an edge. You’re blind? Ok sending a truck right now. What is your address?
I tell her, beginning to spell the street name and she interrupts.
I’ve got the spelling. Go outside and wait for the truck ok?
Ok. We hang up.
I freeze in the living room. I usually put timmy in a room when I go outside so he won’t escape. No time. No time to find timmy. He freaked out with the other animals anyway and is probably hiding. Go to back door, grab Jayden’s leash , go to front door, put leash on, step right outside the door, stop.
Wait. In school we always had to walk away from the building. Jayden’s harness is right inside the door. Step back in, grab his harness, step out, put it on, direct him to the curb.
The distant siren growing closer and then the sound of a heavy engine turning the corner. I waved, feeling so happy to hear them so fast. Even though I knew nothing was burning, I was running on pure adrenaline, and that blaring, so loud, hurting my ears…I had known what it was like to lose that all important sense, at least in a way.
the men stomped towards me and cheerfully said hello and I followed one back to the house. Jayden stopped at the door and a fireman behind me said the door was closed.
“I thought he went in ahead of me.”
“He did, he left you in the dust,” a fireman said with a chuckle. We all tromped into the house and the blaring suddenly stopped.
“Did you have anything on the stove?”
“Did you have a candle burning in the bedroom?”
“We could smell something sweet in there,” he prompted.
“Oh well I have a Plug-In in there.”
They went on to tell me the fire alarms were all rather old. I said I would call the landlord. the first fireman said he left the detecter on the dresser next to the fan. I mentioned the neighbor burning grass and I could hear the eye roll in the first guy’s voice.
“He shouldn’t be doing that.”
I was so wishing he were, so he would get caught at no fault of mine. It was the smoke alarm’s fault.
The men left and I sent a thank you behind them.
Firemen. Even without vision I could tell they were hot. I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was wearing no braw under a t-shirt and men’s pajama bottoms. At least my hair was freshly cut!
B arrived five minutes after the men left and it was good he did because the smoke detector started chirping. We walked around the house thinking it must be one of the other ones but no, it was the same one. The fireman had pulled it off the wall and stopped the screeching but it still had its battery, which B promptly popped out. I left a message for the landlord, b went back to work, and I had my Thursday chat.
Not to worry, if I had smelled smoke, B would not have been my first call. It was a good learning experience. I will get another leash to keep by the front door and will grab Jayden’s harness in the event of an emergency so we can walk to the curb just like I learned in elementary school. The day was interesting, to say the least. And one word: firemen.